Playtika buys German games co Wooga

Robert Antokol  photo: Efi Sameach

Market sources put the acquisition price for Berlin-based casual games company Wooga at over $100 million.

Israeli gaming giant Playtika has announced the acquisition of German gaming company Wooga. Playtech has not disclosed financial details of the acquisition, but market sources put the price at over $100 million. Wooga is based in Berlin and employs more than 180 people. It develops "casual gaming" games such as puzzles and hidden objects, and has substantial (but undisclosed) sales. According to market estimates, Playtika's total annual revenue after the acquisition will surpass $1 billion. Playtika's previous casual gaming acquisition, of Jelly Button a year ago, made a considerable contribution to its top line.

Playtika was founded in 2010 by Israeli entrepreneurs Uri Shahak and Robert Antokol. Eleven months later, it was bought by US company Caesars Interactive Entertainment for $130 million, and in July 2016 is was again sold, this time to a private equity group from China led by Giant Interactive, for $4.4 billion. The company's management headquarters nevertheless remain in Israel, and it employs some 500 people in the country, about a quarter of its global workforce. Most of its development work, however, is carried out at sites in Eastern Europe. Development in Israel focuses on data use and artificial intelligence tools.

Playtika VP marketing Nir Korczak told "Globes" that the current acquisition continues Playtika's strategy of diversifying its games portfolio and entering into additional game genres, particularly casual gaming, which now accounts for more than 50% of the company's games offering.

"The big news here is that the games industry is changing, and today you have create high-quality games, and know how to take them to a standard that will make them leaders at a global level, with real growth. For that, you need technology of the highest level, including Big Data and AI, and here at Playtika, that's our expertise. Six terabytes of data pass through our systems every day, and we can look at the data and gain a better understanding of gamers' behavior and give them a better experience, adapted to them. Whoever succeeds in doing that has an advantage in the market." Korczak says that the high standard of AI developers in Israel means that the company will continue to invest in Israel in the future.

Co-founder and CEO Robert Antokol said, "The acquisition of Wooga positions Palytika at the spearhead of the games industry and as one of the global leaders in the casual games category. Playtika's strengths in the use of Big Data, technology, and marketing at a global standard, alongside those of Wooga in creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, together represent a strong platform for creating games that will break through to audiences worldwide."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 3, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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Robert Antokol  photo: Efi Sameach
Robert Antokol photo: Efi Sameach
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