UKRAINE

Game developer Playtika with offices in Ukraine raises $1.9 billion in IPO

Israeli tech firm Playtika, which has three offices in Ukraine, raised $1.9 billion in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

A developer of mobile casino games, Playtika sold 79.9 million shares, giving the company a market value of about $12 billion.

The per-share price started at $22 on Jan. 15 but it rose to nearly $32 by Jan. 19 in what became the biggest listing by an Israeli-based company. Now Playtika and its China-based owner, Giant Investment, plan to use the IPO money to repay loans and invest in developing more games.

The company has three offices in Ukraine: in Kyiv, Vinnytsia and Dnipro. It employs 920 people here, more than Ajax Systems, Parimatch Tech and Samsung Ukraine. The employer was ranked 21st out the top 50 largest tech companies by Ukrainian online tech portal DOU.ua. According to the ranking, 900 out of Playtika’s 920 Ukrainian specialists are techies.

Playtika has developed 20 free-to-play social casino games, including Caesars Casino, Slotomania, House of Fun, WSOP and Bingo Blitz. The games have over 35 million active users a month, according to the the developer’s website.

Playtika’s founder and CEO Robert Antokol told Reuters that Playtika is currently working on at least one game, which it plans to release in 2021.

“We didn’t need to go public over the past few years, as we were cash flow positive. But as we started growing faster and getting bigger, we felt the time was ripe for us to go public,” said Antokol.

Playtika managed to debut during a tense week when companies rushed to bring shares to the IPO market proactively after a pandemic-induced downturn, Antokol added.

Before going public, Playtika had already been sold twice — to Las Vegas-based Caesars Interactive Entertainment for $100 million in 2011 and to a consortium of Chinese companies led by Giant Investment for $4.4 billion in 2016.

Two days before Playtika’s IPO, Ukrainian-founded startup Affirm went public as well. Affirm debuted on the Nasdaq on Jan. 13 at $97 per share. By Jan. 22, the price of one share was nearly $120.

Source: Kyiv Post

Andriey Nabukhotnyi

Former editor-in-chief of Ukrainian specialized magazine catalogue Entertainment Industry. Andriey is E-Play's observer of Eastern European gambling market.

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