Chinese Group to Pay $4.4 Billion for Caesars’ Mobile Games
HONG KONG — Gambling may be illegal in mainland China, but that is not stopping Chinese tech investors from betting on casino-style mobile games.
In the most recent example in a growing trend of big deals for smartphone-based games, a consortium of Chinese investors led by the game company Shanghai Giant Network Technology said in a statement on Saturday that it would pay $4.4 billion to Caesars Interactive Entertainment for Playtika, its social and mobile games unit. Caesars Interactive is controlled by the owners of Caesars Palace and other casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere.
在智能手机游戏领域，大宗并购交易正呈现日益增多之势，最新的一个例子是，由上海巨人网络科技有限公司领衔的中国投资者组成的一个财团于上周六发表声明称，将斥资44亿美元收购美国凯撒互动娱乐(Caesars Interactive Entertainment)旗下社交和手机游戏部门Playtika。凯撒互动娱乐受控于拉斯维加斯等地的凯撒宫(Caesars Palace)等赌场的所有者。
The Chinese consortium — which also includes Yunfeng Capital, the private equity fund of Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba — said it would allow Playtika, based in Israel, to continue to operate independently. The all-cash deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, does not include Caesars Interactive’s World Series of Poker game or its other real-money game businesses.
该财团包括阿里巴巴董事局主席马云的私募股权基金云峰资本，表示将让总部位于以色列的Playtika继续独立运营。这笔全现金交易预计将于今年年底完成，凯撒互动娱乐的游戏《世界扑克巡回赛》(World Series of Poker)以及其他真钱游戏业务不在交易范围内。
In recent years, the Montreal-based Caesars Interactive has built Playtika, which it acquired in 2011, into a major player in the world of smartphone-based casino-style games. While many of Playtika’s games, like Slotomania and Bingo Blitz, are free to play, users can also pay for virtual currency and items to enhance play. The virtual currency used in Playtika games will continue to be not exchangeable for real money, according to the statement.
While it is not clear when or whether Chinese regulators will accept gambling-style games, the Chinese investment is an example of how internet companies in China often invest first and then worry about legal restrictions. It is also a sign that investors are willing to pay increasingly large sums for smartphone games, which have proved to be one of the best ways to make money from users.
In June, the Chinese internet giant Tencent said it would pay $8.6 billion for a controlling stake in the Finnish game maker Supercell, which makes the popular smartphone game Clash of Clans. Late last year, the American video game powerhouse Activision Blizzard said it would pay about $6 billion for King Digital, maker of Candy Crush.
今年6月，中国互联网巨头腾讯表示，将斥资86亿美元控股芬兰游戏开发商Supercell，广受欢迎的智能手机游戏《部落冲突》(Clash of Clans)就是由后者推出的。去年年底，美国视频游戏巨头动视暴雪公司(Activision Blizzard)称，将以60亿美元收购《糖果传奇》(Candy Crush)的开发商国王数码娱乐公司(King Digital)。
While social networking apps may be more popular, mobile games like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush are some of the most profitable apps around. In China, where playing games on a smartphone can often stand in for other entertainment, like going to a movie, technology companies have competed intensely to lure players and the spare change those players are willing to spend on games.
For Shanghai Giant Network Technology, acquiring Playtika will also extend its reach beyond China. Other Chinese tech companies have used deals to reach players around the world. Among them is Tencent, which has gained control over internationally well-known games like League of Legends.
对上海巨人网络科技有限公司而言，收购Playtika还有助于打入海外市场。其他中国科技公司也正通过收购交易接触世界各地的玩家。腾讯就是其中之一，它已经取得了对一些国际知名游戏的控制权，比如《英雄联盟》(League of Legends)。
Last year, one of Caesars Interactive’s parent companies, Caesars Entertainment, filed for bankruptcy protection. It has been working to get creditor backing for a plan to restructure.