Playtika founders were too quick to sell

Tali Tsipori

Playtika's early sale to Caesars was a multi-billion dollar miss, but at least the founders kept the company in Israel.

One of the claims often made regarding Israeli entrepreneurs selling companies still in their infancy is that by selling they prevent the development of a large company that would have served the Israeli market, both by its taxes and in its contribution to the employment market. Playtika's case is different. The company has not only grown exponentially following its sale but its founder, Robert Antokol, who has continued as CEO after Playtika was sold to Caesars, insisted that the company would continue paying most of its taxes in Israel.

Playtika's VP of Business Development Elad Kushnir recently told "Globes" that Playtika has remained Israeli according in tax terms and pays most of its taxes in Israel. "This was a condition stated by Robert, the founder and CEO, during the company's sale to Caesars," he said, "it is important for him to pay taxes here." Before Playtika, Antokol (47) had founded the gaming company Cmate, sold about a decade ago to the gaming company Oberon. Co-founder, Uri Shahak, used to be a senior product manager in the Israeli gambling giant 888.

Due to Playtika's major success, I cannot help but wonder whether Antokol and Shahak regret the timing in which they sold the company to Caesars, a mere eight months after it was founded. Of course, it is easy to be smart in hindsight and the two may have not predicted its meteoric success. Playtika started operating when the casino-based social game industry was still in its early stages. This was still a virgin market and they, like many entrepreneurs, may have feared that the experiment named "Playtika" would not succeed. When Caesars offered them a $130 million check, they preferred to play it safe.

Just imagine what could have happened if they would have waited one or two years. In addition to the two founders making a greater profit, Israel's Tax Authority would have also profited greatly. This is the case even if we do not discuss a scenario in which Playtika would have not been sold at all; because, in our opinion, it would have reached the same achievements even without Caesars. After all, Antokol continues managing it. He is responsible for its major success, yet we would not be surprised if he has some regrets about the huge personal exit he had missed.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on August 1, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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