Israel's Playtika Eyes Nearly $10 Billion Valuation in Wall Street IPO as Gaming Booms

Israeli company, owned by a Chinese holding group, files to raise as much as $1.67 billion in share sale

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A Playtika billboard in Herzliya, 2016.
A Playtika billboard in Herzliya, 2016.Credit: Moti Milrod

Playtika Holding Corp. is looking to raise as much as $1.67 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, giving it a valuation of nearly $10 billion, as it tries to cash in on demand for mobile-gaming during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Israel-based company, owned by a Chinese investor group, is planning to sell 69.5 million shares priced at between $22 and $24 apiece, it said on Thursday.

The IPO will follow a bumper year for listings in the United States and coincides with strict lockdowns across the globe, which have been driving demand for video games as people stay home to avoid catching the coronavirus.

Several startups have benefited from the increased investor interest for gaming stocks. Roblox Corp., a U.S. gaming site, has said it aims to go public through a direct listing and has raised new funding in a deal that values it at nearly $30 billion.

Playtika’s move to go public also comes as U.S.-listed Chinese firms face tightened scrutiny and strict audit norms from U.S. regulators and a day after the New York Stock Exchange decided to delist three Chinese telecom companies.

Reuters, citing sources, reported in June Playtika, known for its casino-themed games and apps for poker and solitaire, was hiring banks for a $1 billion IPO. It confidentially submitted IPO paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in October.

Founded in 2010 by Israelis Robert Antokol and Uri Shahak, Herzliya-based Playtika was acquired a year later by Caesars Entertainment Corp. In 2016, a group of Chinese investors including Giant Network Group Co, and Yunfeng Capital, acquired Playtika from Caesars Interactive for $4.4 billion. Today, it has more than 35 million monthly active users and its games include Bingo Blitz and Slotomania.

Playtika plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol PLTK.

Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, UBS and BofA Securities are the lead underwriters.

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