Garber in 2014
September 5, 1964 |
|Net worth||$400 million (Canadian) Estimated Net Worth|
Mitch Garber (born September 5, 1964) is a Canadian business executive who is currently the CEO of Caesars Acquisition Company, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, the World Series of Poker, and is Chairman of Cirque du Soleil. He attended Bialik High School, McGill University and University of Ottawa.
Upon obtaining a degree in Industrial Relations from McGill University and a law degree from the University of Ottawa, Garber practiced law in Montreal at the firm Lazarus Charbonneau from 1990-1999. Garber left Lazarus Charbonneau in 1999 to pursue his business career at SureFire Commerce Inc., an online payment processing company he helped start.
SureFire/Terra Payments/Optimal Payments/FireOne
In 2003, Garber engineered the merger of SureFire, then named Terra Payments Inc., with Optimal Group Inc., a NASDAQ-listed maker of robotics and related-equipment to form Optimal Payments, Inc., of which he became CEO. In 2005, Garber led the spin-off of FireOne Group Plc from Optimal Payments and subsequently floated FireOne on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM, serving as Executive Chairman. The share price of Optimal Group increased approximately 300% during his three year tenure as CEO from 2003-2006.
Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE)
In 2009, Garber joined private equity firms TPG Capital and Apollo Global Management, principal owners of Caesars Entertainment following its $31 billion leveraged buyout by to lead its newly-created digital gaming and entertainment business. Garber would serve as CEO of the new entity, named Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), and be its first private investor.
While CEO of CIE, Garber discovered a recently founded Israeli startup called Playtika. Founded in Tel Aviv in 2010, Playtika was a pioneer of freemium social and mobile games. In 2011, Garber led CIE’s acquisition of Playtika. Thereafter, Garber led the acquisition of three subsequent social games companies: Buffalo Studios in 2012, makers of Bingo Blitz, Electronic Arts’ Montreal-based World Series of Poker (Social) studio in 2013, to whom CIE had previously licensed the WSOP social and mobile game rights, and Pacific Interactive in 2014, makers of House of Fun. Through these acquisitions Garber positioned Playtika as one of the leading social and mobile game developers in the world. Over the course of 2011-2015, Playtika, led by Israeli games guru, Robert Antokol, grew from 15 employees to more than 1,300 across 12 global offices.
Only July 31, 2016, CIE announced the sale of Playtika to a Chinese consortium involving Giant Interactive, one of China's leading games companies, and Yunfeng Capital, the private equity firm of Alibaba Founder and CEO, Jack Ma, for $4.4 billion. Having initially acquired Playtika in 2011 for approximately $100 million, Garber made it one of the most successful acquisitions in the social and mobile games industry, returning approximately 44x the investment. As of August 8, 2016, it is the third-largest sale in the history of Israel.
Caesars Acquisition Company (CACQ)
In 2013, Garber became the CEO of Caesars Acquisition Company (CACQ), a NASDAQ-listed offshoot of Caesars Entertainment. In addition to CIE and the assets CIE owns – the World Series of Poker, U.S. regulated real-money online gaming businesses, and Playtika – other assets CACQ controls include multiple Las Vegas hotel and casinos, notably Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, The LINQ, Bally’s, Paris, and outside of Las Vegas, the Horseshoe Baltimore and Harrah’s New Orleans.
Cirque du Soleil
In 2015, Garber became Chairman of Cirque du Soleil following the entertainment company’s buyout by TPG Capital, Chinese private equity firm Fosun International, and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada's second largest pension fund. Garber co-invested in the deal, making him a part-owner in addition to being Chairman.
Along with his wife, Anne-Marie Boucher, Garber commits a considerable amount of his time and money to philanthropy. Some of the philanthropic initiatives Garber and Boucher have been and are currently involved in are:
- Garber sits on the board of Guy Laliberté’s One Drop Foundation
- Garber was Co-Chair of the 2016 $55 million Centraide campaign in Montreal
- Garber is Chairman of the Faculty Advisory Board of the McGill University Faculty of Medicine
- Garber has worked with the late René Angelil and Céline Dion to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research
- Boucher and Garber established The Garber Family Post Doctorate Fellowship in Hereditary Cancer at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine
- Garber is a patron and benefactor to Aleh Jerusalem and Aleh Negev hospitals in Israel and Boucher is a Board Member
- Garber is a patron of St. Mary’s Hospital and Boucher is Chairman of the Board
- Garber is a patron and contributor to the Weizmann Institute in Israel and Boucher serves on the Canadian Board
- Garber is a patron of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation in Israel
- Garber and Boucher are patrons of CIJA and have organized missions for non-Jewish business and political leaders to visit, learn about, and experience Israel
- Garber is a patron and contributor to Lower Canada College, where his two children attended school, and Boucher served six years on its Board
Recent television and media
- Rochelle, Lash. "Mitch Garber: The Go-To-Guy for Major League Entertainment". www.montrealgazette.com. Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2015-11-16.
- King, Mike. "Harrah's Entertainment Puts Money on Online Ace Garber". www.canadianlawyermag.com. Canadian Lawyer Magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- Bowers, Simon. "Players Walk Away as U.S. Law Wipes Out 90% of Party Gaming's Poker Revenue". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- Petrowski, Nathalie. "Mitch Garber: Un Dragon Fou de Montreal". www.lapresse.ca. La Presse. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- "Caesars Interactive - About Us". www.caesarsinteractive.com. Caesars Interactive Entertainment. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
- Takahashi, Dean. "How One Israeli Investor Overcomes Fears and Continues to Invest in Games". www.venturebeat.com. Venture Beat. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
- Stutz, Howard. "Garber nurtures Caesars Interactive to growth mode". www.reviewjournal.com. Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
- Loo, Daryl (August 1, 2016). "Caesars Jumps on $4.4 Billion Deal to Sell Playtika Games Unit". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 8, 2016 – via www.bloomberg.com.
- Xie, Yifan (July 29, 2016). "Chinese Investor Group Buys Israel-Based Online-Games Firm". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 8, 2016 – via www.wsj.com.
- Lev, Tzvi (August 2, 2016). "Israeli company acquired in third-largest sale in country's history". Ynet News - Business and Finance. Ynet News. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- "Profile: Caesars Acquisition Company". www.reuters.com. Reuters. Retrieved 2015-11-16.
- Van Der Linde, Damon. "Mitch Garber Steps into Cirque du Soleil Spotlight as Chairman of the Board". www.financialpost.com. Financial Post. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- Kerr, Peter. "Mitch Garber - Successful Business Executive, Philanthropist, and Sports Fan". www.themontrealeronline.com. The Montrealer. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- Rinaldo, Sandie. "Mitch Garber Rose from Humble Beginnings to Head Up a $2.5 Billion Empire". www.ctvnews.ca. CTV News. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
- Melin, Anders. "2017 Highest Paid CEOs". Bloomberg. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved May 11, 2017.