“We aim to be the largest gaming company in the world,” says Playtika CEO

Robert Antokol, co-founder and CEO of Israeli-based cellular gaming firm Playtika, which was listed on the NYSE on Friday, has huge plans for his firm

Tzally Greenberg 11:5817.01.21

Robert Antokol, the co-founder and CEO of Israeli-based cellular gaming firm Playtika Ltd., based the corporate in 2010 together with Uri Shahak. The pair began working in places of work above a laundromat and employed solely 10 folks. On Friday, Playtika turned the most important Israeli gaming firm to be listed on the Nasdaq with a valuation of $11.7 billion, using 3,700 folks, unfold out over 19 completely different places around the globe.


“We intention for Playtika to be the most important gaming firm on this planet,” Antokol stated in an interview with Calcalist. “Now, after ten years of labor, we really feel that we need to present the world who Playtika is.”


Co-founder and CEO of Playtika Robert Antokol, Photo: Ehud Romano Co-founder and CEO of Playtika Robert Antokol, Picture: Ehud Romano


Antokol, who till lately most popular to keep up discretion in regard to the corporate’s exercise, realized that Playtika had reached some extent of no return, which required it to be listed on the inventory trade to allow it to develop. He additionally realized that it will value him publicity that he was not accustomed to. The push to go public was pushed by Playtika’s controlling shareholder, Chinese language consortium Alpha Frontier, which offered $1.3 billion of the corporate’s shares as a part of Playtika’s IPO. Alpha Frontier acquired the Israeli firm in the summertime of 2016
for $4.4 billion.


“Previous to the IPO we relied on the money stream that we generated,” Antokol stated, “however now we have the flexibility to be a a lot larger participant, and that’s why we wanted to turn into a publicly-traded firm. The corporate’s choice to stay personal has quite a bit to do with my private character. I worth my privateness and like to give attention to doing and never on public relations. However I understand that the general public facet is now a part of the corporate’s character too. I’m glad this course of is behind us, and much more glad concerning the reactions we’ve obtained from our American traders,” he stated.


Immigrated to Israel on the age of six


Antokol isn’t precisely the archetype of the common Israeli techie. He immigrated to the nation on the age of six from Latvia, and settled in northern Israel, in Kiryat Bialik, the place he lived till the age of 26. Regardless of his background, it appears as if the two.6% stake he holds in Playtika which is valued at a $306 million upon itemizing doesn’t excite him a lot, since he’s already accomplished three exits with the corporate.


“I actually don’t give it some thought, it’s not like I used to be in a special place yesterday,” Antokol stated surprisingly. “However for our over 3,000 workers, third of whom are Israeli, who now obtained inventory choices, it’s wonderful. It’s fantastic for them and for the Israeli financial system. In that context, it’s necessary to say that 80% of the individuals who began working with me again then, are nonetheless with us now, even after the corporate has accomplished three exits, and even if your complete world is making an attempt to rent them. They stayed on to battle alongside me.”


“We have been one of many first corporations that went again to figuring out of our places of work (after the lockdown restrictions have been lifted), since being collectively is part of the corporate’s DNA, and we even have a accountability for the financial life round us,” he stated. “Tech corporations generally reside in a bubble, however for us it was all the time clear that we stay part of our surrounding setting and the neighborhood. That’s why Playtika has remained in Israel, with a blue-and-white management, despite the fact that its shareholders have modified.”


“The easing out of the pandemic could have a much less dramatic impact on our operations”


Though the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak took away a few of that feeling of togetherness, it contributed to a 28.5% enhance in firm revenues. On the earth of gaming, many worry that demand for the business’s merchandise will decline because the world eases out of the worldwide well being disaster.


Nonetheless, Antokol isn’t too disturbed by this and stated, “it’s troublesome to foretell the longer term, and it’s necessary to keep in mind that Playtika grew constantly and was worthwhile previous to the pandemic. Regardless of the give attention to the corporate’s development through the pandemic, this isn’t an distinctive interval for the corporate’s actions. It’s not like we’re all of a sudden seeing a mountain of income. We all the time had optimistic money stream, and fluctuations in direction of the correct or the left, gained’t have a dramatic impact on our operations.”


Antokol isn’t too bothered by the corporate’s $2.4 billion in money owed both. “The scale of our debt isn’t dramatic compared to the corporate’s measurement, and we intend to recycle it. The know-how we’ve constructed over the previous 10 years is what’s going to take us ahead, and it’s what has grown and can proceed to develop our acquisitions. Our expertise will permit us to develop the corporate inside three months, not due to visitors (directing consumer visitors to Playtika’s video games), however due to the know-how we’ve developed. It’s like going from driving a Toyota to driving a Mercedes in three months.”


As for Mercedes, Antokol and the remainder of his senior administration workforce use a personal aircraft for conferences abroad. “I go to each certainly one of our 19 places of work around the globe at the least twice a 12 months to relay necessary messages to workers immediately as CEO,” he stated. “Regardless of that, I nonetheless take my youngster to highschool on a scooter.”


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