Date
26 July 2017
Jack Ma and his partners are eager to expand beyond their home country, which boasts the world's largest online gaming market. Photo: Internet
Jack Ma and his partners are eager to expand beyond their home country, which boasts the world's largest online gaming market. Photo: Internet

Jack Ma group to pay US$4.4 bln cash for online game firm

Alibaba founder Jack Ma and a group of Chinese investors have agreed to buy Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc.’s online game unit for US$4.4 billion in cash.

The consortium includes game developer Shanghai Giant Network Technology Co. Ltd.

The sale of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, owned by Caesars Acquisition Co. (CAC) and Caesars Entertainment Corp., will be a boon to the two affiliated companies, which are looking for cash as they embark on a complex merger, Reuters reports.

The deal follows a exclusive talks between Caesars Interactive Entertainment and Giant’s consortium first reported on July 21 by Reuters.

Caesars Entertainment’s main operating unit, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co Inc. (CEOC), is involved in an US$18 billion bankruptcy and is seeking creditor approval for a restructuring plan.

The transaction between CAC and the Caesars Entertainment parent is part of a complex deal that has come under scrutiny by CEOC’s creditors.

Chinese companies are eager to expand beyond their home country, which boasts the world’s largest online gaming market.

In June, Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s biggest gaming group, agreed to buy a majority stake in Clash Of Clans’ mobile game maker Supercell from SoftBank Group Corp. in an US$8.6 billion deal.

Caesars’ online games business, known as Playtika, makes its games such as Bingo Blitz and Slotomania available on Apple Inc.’s App Store.

Playatika will continue to operate independently with its own management team and its headquarters remaining in Herzliya, Israel, after the deal, the companies said.

Playtika players use virtual currency that cannot be exchanged for real money, although players can spend money by buying items in the games. Caesars’ World Series of Poker and real-money online gaming businesses are not part of the deal, according to the companies.

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