This week the Financial Post credited Mitch Garber as “the man who helped save Caesars Entertainment from ruin”.
Garber is the CEO of Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIO). This is the organisation that owns the WSOP.
And they are right. CIE’s parent, Caesars Entertainment, would be in trouble if Garber would not have taken interest in Playtika, a small Israeli social gaming start-up with just 10 employees.
This could have also affected the future of the World Series of Poker in drastic manner.
Garber led the $90 million acquisition of Playtika in 2011, after Caesars declared its long term ambition to become:
“the number one in casino and social games on Facebook”.
When Playtika quickly grew into the market-leading social casino games developer, Garber had the last laugh after many incredulous at first. It employed over 1,300 people at 12 offices across the world by the time it was acquired last month for $4.4 billion by a Chinese consortium. In addition, the site has more than 20 million active monthly users.
Thanks to his appearances on Quebec’s French-language version of Shark Tank, Dans l’oeil du dragon, Garber has recently become something of a mainstream celebrity in his home nation.
“In the cycle of business, we build businesses, then we grow businesses by acquisition and then sometimes we sell a business and it’s all part of the cycle of the business life”, he argued.
Garber may well have saved its skin as Caesars was desperate in need of that billion cash injection.
Besides all the industry- high debts, Caesars was also paying nine figures in debt repayments alone every three months, prior to the bankruptcy of its main operation unit CEOC.
The bankruptcy left Caesars with nothing but unpayable debts and distressed assets.
It possible amounted to fraudulent asset-stripping as a court- appointed examiner agreed with this assessment.
The pot of the creditors could now however been sweetened by the sale of Playtika.
Ironically, the CIE and Caesars Acquisition Group may now disappear during the restructuring process, and these are precisely the companies that Garber helped save.
Garber had the following to say:
“I’ll explore my options at that point, I have a lot of energy, I love being around people and I love deals. If I can combine my energy, people and deals, why would I stop?”