Aug 01, 2016

    Chinese group to buy Caesars' online games unit for $5.9b

    A CHINESE consortium that includes game developer Shanghai Giant Network Technology and e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma has agreed to acquire Caesars Interactive Entertainment's online games unit for US$4.4 billion (S$5.9 billion) in cash, people familiar with the matter said.

    The Caesars unit is owned by Caesars Acquisition and Caesars Entertainment.

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

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

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

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

    Playtika players use virtual currency that cannot be exchanged for real money.

    But the 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 sources.

    Giant is one of China's biggest gaming companies, with nearly 50 million monthly active users and several top-grossing mobile titles.