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Playtika to acquire Innplay Labs for up to $300m

| By Robert Fletcher
Social gaming developer Playtika has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Israeli-based mobile gaming studio Innplay Labs for up to $300.0m (£241.4m/€281.5m).

The deal states Playtika will pay an initial $80.0m but various clauses mean the final price could be far higher. 

Further terms of the agreement, including when the deal could close, were not disclosed. However, Playtika did state the proposed acquisition remains subject to certain, customary closing conditions.

Founded in 2019, Innplay Labs counts Water Ride, Brix Master and Animal Kingdom among its current titles. The studio has secured investment from several parties including Vgames, a venture fund for game entrepreneurs. 

Playtika CEO Robert Antokol said that the acquisition supports the “strategic” expansion of the developer’s portfolio. 

“The acquisition of Innplay Labs represents another strategic expansion of our portfolio with a promising and innovative growth franchise in the Luck Battle genre,” Antokol said. 

“It presents another opportunity for us to further utilise our expertise in leveraging live operations and proprietary technology to drive sustained, long-term growth.

“As a fellow Israeli-based company recognised for innovation, Innplay’s talented team shares our culture of focus, speed and agility. We are excited to embark on this journey together and to rebrand Animals & Coins alongside Innplay.”

Innplay CEO Ore Gilron added: “In 2019, Innplay Labs formed with the goal of shaping the next generation of mobile gaming. Four years later, our robust team of talented high skilled game operators have put their passions together to create an outstanding game product with rich engaging content, providing our audience with a uniquely entertaining gaming experience.

“Looking ahead, we believe becoming a part of Playtika’s strong portfolio of casual titles will take Innplay Labs to new heights.”

Playtika increases M&A activity 

The agreement represents Playtika’s second transaction so far this quarter. Last month, the developer struck a deal to acquire the Youda Games portfolio of content from Azerion for €81.3m.

Playtika will take ownership of the entire portfolio should the deal proceed as expected. The Youda Games collection includes a number of gambling-related titles such as social card-themed game Governor of Poker. 

The deal is due to complete by the end of the third quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.

Earlier this year, Playtika also tried and failed to acquire Rovio Entertainment, the developer behind the successful Angry Birds series.

Playtika filed an initial proposal in November 2022 and increased its offer in January. At the time, Playtika CEO Antokol said the deal would be valuable for Rovio’s shareholders.

However, Playtika in March said it would not be proceeding with talks and withdrew its proposal. This came after Rovio launched a strategic review to consider offers from Playtika and other interested parties.

In April, Sega Sammy Holdings reached an agreement to acquire Rovio for €706.0m. Its offer of €9.25 per share was higher than Playtika’s proposal of €9.05 per share.

Profit up despite revenue dip in Q2

This M&A activity came against a background of mixed results in Q2 for Playtika. Revenue fell 2.5% year-on-year to $642.8m in the three months to 30 June.

Playtika noted a 9.9% drop in social casino games revenue, although casual games revenue climbed 3.7% and Blitz Bingo 6.3%. Average daily paying users slipped 1.0% to 307,000. In contrast, average payer conversion climbed 3.2%.

However, reduced costs meant comprehensive net profit was 340.5% higher at $90.3m. In addition, adjusted EBITDA for the quarter increased 6.7% to $215.0m.

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