(Yicai Global) Nov. 4 -- China's Giant Network Technology has suspended its planned takeover of Playtika as the Israel-headquartered online game developer seeks its first listing abroad, the Shanghai-based firm announced today.
Giant will continue to negotiate with involved parties to seek a more suitable acquisition method, it said. Its shares [SHE:002558] took a dive this morning following the announcement, closing down 2.44 percent at CNY18.01 (USD2.60) this morning.
Giant's bid for Playtika, which is a unit of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, goes back to August 2016 when a Chinese consortium -- dubbed 'Alpha' -- led by Giant Interactive Group, one of the country's largest mobile game companies, sought to buy Herzliya-based Playtika for USD4.4 billion in cash and shares. Private equity firm Yunfeng Capital, China Ocean Wide Holdings, China Minsheng Trust, CHD Investment, HF Holdings and Hony Capital were other members of Alpha, a group which numbered 13 in all.
China Securities Regulatory Commission rejected the planned buyout in August last year.
The proposed deal then underwent a major overhaul in July, with the new scheme envisaging Giant paying CNY12 billion (USD1.7 billion) to take 42.3 percent of Alpha, while the share issue portion became pure cash, the Alpha recipients of which shrank to six. The money was to come from the Giant's own resources and self-raised funds.
The company's cash on-hand is CNY5.34 billion, however, per its first-quarter report, and its current market cap is CNY36.6 billion, so the viability of this arrangement is open to some doubt.
Playtika trailblazed free-to-play games on social networks and mobile platforms. It created Slotomania, House of Fun and Bingo Blitz, which are among the best-selling games on Apple's App Store, Google Play and Facebook, PR Newswire reported. More than 6 million users in 190 countries play its games each day. Playtika formed in 2010 and, in addition to its Herzliya headquarters, has offices in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Japan, Romania, Ukraine and the US. Its assets were about CNY38.8 billion as of March 31 and the firm's operating income was CNY7.7 billion , CNY9.97 billion, and CNY3.02 billion in 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively. The company realized net profit of CNY1.88 billion, CNY2.43 billion, and CNY730 million, respectively.
Giant supplies application software. The firm provides online games, computer game software, and other related products. Giant also offers system integration and data processing services. Its ZT Online series is one of the top massively multiplayer online role playing games in China, per the report. The company has about 50 million monthly active users.
Editor: Ben Armour