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China’s Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika For $4.4 Billion, One Of Largest Deals In Country’s History

A consortium of Chinese companies led by Shanghai Giant Network Technology, one of China’s largest online gaming companies, is acquiring Israeli social games developer Playtika from Caesars Interactive Entertainment for a whopping $4.4 billion – one of the largest “exits” by an Israeli company in the history of the Startup Nation.

Written by Einat Paz-Frankel, published July 31, 2016 , full article on NoCamels 

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This is the second time Playtika swaps hands: In 2011, the company was bought by casino giant Caesars for about $100 million. Now, the Herzliya, Israel-based startup is sold to a consortium partly owned by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

The deal is one of the largest acquisitions of an Israeli high-tech company: Israel’s NDS, which develops software for the pay TV industry, was acquired for $5 billion by Cisco, the world’s largest maker of equipment for computer networks, in 2012. Israeli company Mercury Interactive, a leading IT management software and services company, was acquired by computer giant HP in 2006 for $4.5 billion.

Following the transaction, Playtika will continue to run independently with its headquarters remaining in Israel, and its existing management team will continue to run day-to-day operations. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Playtika, a social and mobile gaming company, was founded in 2010 by Antokol and Uri Shahak, and has since opened studios and offices in the US, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Japan, Romania and Ukraine.

The startup is the creator of popular online gambling games such as Slotomania, House of Fun and Bingo Blitz, which consistently rank among the top-grossing games on Apple’s App Store, Google Play and Facebook.  Playtika’s games are played daily by roughly 6 million people in 190 countries, in 12 languages.

“Playtika’s growth has been exceptional, and highlights its outstanding team, excellent corporate culture, cutting-edge big data analytics, and its unique ability to transform and grow games,” Giant’s founder and chairman Shi Yuzhu, said in a statement.

To read the full article, please visit the NoCamels webpage!

To give you a short overview of what the Israeli gaming industry is capable of, SoomLa Blog composed the following overview of the 10 most popular Israeli games earlier this year:


#10 Kazooloo

Android iOS

Developer: Nordau Creative

The company was founded in 2012 by Andy Schwartz, and employs between 10 and 50 people. It specializes in making mobile games, and focuses on children’s games. Its most popular product is Kazooloo, an augmented reality mobile game.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Adventure
About the game: Even though the game doesn’t have countless millions of downloads, it was praised for its innovative gameplay and the use of new technologies. Kazooloo is an augmented-reality game in which players fight dragons and other mythical creatures that appear, through the smartphone’s camera, on their desk or similar surface.


#9 The Hunger Games Adventureshunger games adventures logo

Android | iOS

Developer: Funtactix

The studio was founded in 2006, and has offices in Tel Aviv, New York and Los Angeles. Besides building games under its own name, the studio is also for hire, building games for other clients. It is best known for its award-winning game The Hunger Games Adventures.

Release Date: 2012
Genre: Adventure
About the game: Hunger Games Adventures is a mobile adventure game built by Funtactics, and based on the novels and movies of the same name. However, unlike the other media, this game does not show the brutal killing of children – instead it is created as a strategy / adventure game, depicting the life in District 13.


#8 Slotomania – Free Casino Slots

Android iOS

Developer: PlaytikaSlotmania Logo

Playtika was such a huge success that it was acquired by Caesars Entertainment Casino Group some eight months into its existence. Allegedly, the deal was worth almost $90 million. This Israeli powerhouse also recently acquired gaming venture company Big Blue Parrot. Facebook has listed a Playtika game on its top 8 games list for 2015.

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Betting
About the game: Slotomania is a betting game with all the usual betting machines you can find in a casino. Even though it focuses mostly on slots, it also features various mini-games, like the Wheel of Fortune. The game also has a social aspect, allowing players to team up with their Facebook friends.


#7 Romans from Mars

Android iOS

Developer: Sidekickromansfrommars Logo

Sidekick is an Israeli game development studio founded in 2010. It focuses on building games using new technologies, which is why it creates games for virtual reality headsets, Xbox’s Kinect, motion-controlled PCs and so on.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: RPG
About the game: Romans from Mars is an action / RPG game in which the player is tasked with stopping countless waves of Martians from invading Earth. Aimed with nothing but a crossbow (and a couple of spells), the player must defend his base. The game has gotten great reviews all over the Web and has been praised for its use of new technologies – it works great with virtual reality headsets.


#6 Noogra Nuts

Android iOS

Developer: BengigiNoogra Nuts Logo

Bengigi is an indie developer studio that doesn’t build just games – it has other products as well. Even though it has made the list thanks to its addicting Noogra Nuts series, it was also praised by big media publications such as Wired, Lifehacker and CNET for creating other useful apps.

Release Date: 2012
Genre: Adventure
About the game: Noogra Nuts is an arcade game in which the player is tasked with cracking nuts using the (poor) squirrel’s head. The game employs the device’s gyroscope and features a cute little character that slightly reminds me of the squirrel from Ice Age.


#5 Stormfall: Rise of Balur

Android iOS

Developer: PlariumStormfall rISE OF bALUR lOGO

Plarium was founded in 2009 as a developer of hardcore games for social media networks like Facebook or vKontakte. It has since expanded to mobile platforms, including iOS and Android. It employs more than 1000 people worldwide, has offices all over the world and more than 150 million registered users.

Release Date: 2015
Genre: Strategy
About the game: Stormfall: Rise of Balur is a standalone mobile strategy game. ‘Standalone’ is important here, as the game’s servers are separated from those for the Web and social media sites. It is an MMO game built for Android and iOS and features a large medieval fantasy world and state-of-the-art graphics. Players can recruit giant armies, forge alliances and enter player-versus-player battles.


#4 Dentist Mania: Doctor X Clinic

Android iOS

Developer: TabTaleDENTIST MANIA logo

TabTale is an Israeli game development studio with offices all around the world, including China, USA, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine. It focuses on creating mobile games for the whole family, and prides itself on having more than 850 million downloads across all its products.

Release Date: 2014
Genre: Casual
About the game: Dentist Mania: Doctor X Clinic is a children’s casual game in which kids are tasked with being “the best dentist at a crazy office”. Players get to choose their patients and fix their teeth, which includes pulling out bad ones, brushing, styling with braces and building their own toothpaste.


#3 Trial Xtreme 3

Android iOS

Developer: DeemedyaTX3 logo

Deemedya is an extremely popular Israeli mobile game publisher which is most known by its racing series, Trial Xtreme. This entire list could have been made completely out of Deemedya games, as this team produced almost a dozen globally popular games.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Racing
About the game: Trial Xtreme 3 is the third part of the series, and even though there have been newer iterations, this one has made it to the list as the best-rated and most downloaded one of the bunch. With over 50 million downloads on Android alone, it stands as one of the best Israeli mobile games ever made.


#2 Pirate Kings

Android iOS

Developer: Jelly Button GamesPirate kings logo

Jelly Button Games is a specific mobile games studio – it was founded by five friends who have been working together for more than 10 years, and have been good friends for 20. The studio was founded in 2011, and has since then grown into an influential industry competitor.

Release Date: 2015
Genre: Casual
About the game: Pirate Kings is a combination of luck and skill, in which players are tasked with discovering, building and upgrading their pirate islands, while plundering and pillaging other players. They can do so by spinning a wheel of fortune, which then assigns them different tasks, including attacking, defending and earning in-game money.


#1 World Series of Poker – WSOP

Android iOS

Developer: PlaytikaWorld Series Poker Logo

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Card game
About the game: The WOSP is one of the best poker games out there. It features various types of poker, including Texas Hold’Em and Omaha. It also has multi-level tournaments, and players can also earn WSOP rings to climb the leaderboard. Besides, registration is not required in order to play – players can enter the game anonymously, as well.