Tech Nation / Playtika Buys Israeli Poker Platform Big Blue Parrot for Undisclosed Amount

Three groups to manage biotech incubators; Bank outsources data services to Indian firm.

© Lesl | Dreamstime.com - Poker Game Photo

Playtika buys Israeli poker platform Big Blue Parrot for undisclosed amount

Playtika, the Israeli social gaming company owned by the U.S. gaming company Caesars Interactive Entertainment, said Monday it had bought the Israeli poker platform Big Blue Parrot for an undisclosed sum. Big Blue Parrot’s flagship product is Poker Friends, which allows users to create their own circle of fellow players and play at their own pace. Big Blue Parrot is the fifth social-gaming acquisition for Platika since it was founded five year ago and was probably bought for several millions of dollars, industry sources said. “Playtika has set for itself the goal of supporting the local industry and to create opportunities for talented and path-breaking Israeli entrepreneurs,” said founder and CEO Robert Antokol. Playtika, which was acquired by Caesars just eight months after it was founded, had revenues of $380 million in the first half of this year from six games it operates across 14 platforms. The company employs 1,200 people, 200 in Israel. (Amir Teig)

Three groups to manage biotech incubators

Three investor groups won tenders by the Economy Ministry’s Office of the Chief Scientist to operate technology incubators focused on the life sciences in the northern Galilee region and Golan Heights. The ministry said the Health02 group, which comprises the U.S. medical device company Medtronics, IBM, the venture capital fund Pitango and the Rambam Medical Center, will operate an incubator in Haifa’s Life Sciences Park specializing in digital medicine. Trendlines will operate a second incubator in Acre dedicated to medical equipment in addition to the one it already operates in the Galilee town of Misgav. A third group, Galil Tech Ventures, will manage an incubator in the Golan focused on biotechnology and medical devices. Galil Tech’s partners include Tav Medical, a company that provides design and components to medical device makers, and investors Roni Naftali and Avraham Gilat. “The north significantly lags behind the center so we are working to strengthen it both in terms of quality and entrepreneurship,” said Economy Minister Arye Deri. (Inbal Orpaz)

Bank outsources data services to Indian firm

In a first for an Israeli lender, Bank Yahav signed a contract with the Indian company TCS on Monday to outsource its computer operations and maintenance work for the next 10 years. The agreement is a first for the Israeli banking industry, which has shunned off-the-shelf solutions. Bank Leumi, for instance, hired the Swiss banking software company Temenos to develop a system custom-made for the bank. The 1 billion-shekel ($250 million) contract is not expected to yield Yahav much savings over what it now pays Bank Hapoalim for the same services, but it will give the tiny lender an independent computer network and access to applications and innovations developed by TCS. “This is a biggest and most important strategic move for the bank since it was founded,” said the bank’s chairman, David Ben-David. “The services we get from TCS will enable [us] to respond quickly to changes in the banking system, making us more efficient and competitive.” (Sivan Aizescu)