Playtika takeover delayed by Chinese authorities

30 January 2018

The $4.8bn (€3.9bn) purchase of Playtika, agreed in 2016 between the social gaming developer’s owner and a Chinese consortium including Alibaba’s Jack Ma, has hit a regulatory hurdle according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Playtika, which this week announced the formation of a new investment fund for tech companies, was sold by a division of Caesars Entertainment Corp in 2016 to a consortium that included an affiliate of Giant Interactive Group and a private-equity firm co-founded by billionaire Ma.

The Wall Street Journal’s Wayne Ma reports that the acquisition of the Israel-based firm, known for creating Slotomania, could be thwarted due to China’s clampdown on foreign acquisitions.

The newspaper claims sources say that the authorities are reluctant to approve the sale because it is felt that Playtika’s social games promote gambling, which is illegal across all of China apart from Macau.

However, the Wall Street Journal’s sources suggest the acquisition has not been formally rejected and could still be approved.

China's securities regulator received the deal application on Nov. 10, 2016, making it the second-longest among 75 transactions currently in active review. Deals are usually decided upon within three months.

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