THQ Nordic AB acquires Koch Media GmbH

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic is to acquire 100 percent of the share capital in Koch Media. The total consideration amounts to EUR 121 million on a cash and debt free basis, equivalent to an equity value of EUR 91.5 million. EUR 82 million will be paid in cash and financed by current cash and bank balance. The remaining part of the consideration, amounting to EUR 9.5 million will be paid by consideration shares at a price per share which is based on the volume weighted average price of the company’s shares on Nasdaq First North during the twenty trade days preceding the signing date (14th February), i.e. SEK 95.44. Thus, the consideration shares will comprise 987,965 B shares.

Koch Media is a leading, independent producer and marketer of digital entertainment products in Europe and North America with studios in Germany, the UK, and the US, and offices in several Central and Northern European cities. Koch Media’s business consists of three business areas; i) Games, which are mainly published under the Deep Silver label with several AAA-intellectual property rights such as Saints Row, Dead Island and Metro; ii) Partner Publishing, which is the leading company in this business area in Europe and iii) Film, which is a business within movies for primarily the German- and Italian-speaking territories.

Koch Media generated net sales of approximately SEK 2,548 million and adjusted EBIT of approximately SEK 296 million for the period April – December 2017. The new group generated pro forma net sales and adjusted EBIT for the period April – December 2017 of SEK 2,933 million and SEK 505 million, respectively.

Lars Wingefors, CEO of THQ Nordic, said, “Koch Media has a long history of profitability despite losses incurred from some less successful game releases. THQ Nordic is convinced that the development studios of Deep Silver as part of THQ Nordic will successfully deliver at least four ongoing AAA game projects including Metro Exodus as well as the next Volition Studio AAA release and the next Dambuster Studio AAA release, together with a number of other game development and publishing titles.”

Austria, Vienna & Germany, Planegg

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Viacom acquires online conference VidCon

ViacomAmerican multinational media conglomerate Viacom has acquired VidCon, host of the world’s largest multi-day conference for the global online community.

With more than 30,000 attendees and 80-plus sponsors (including, for many years, Viacom), at its flagship Anaheim event, VidCon has become the largest multi-day conference of its kind and cemented itself as a leading event for the worldwide online video community. And while VidCon has already carried this momentum into events in Amsterdam and Melbourne, Viacom’s global network of platforms and properties give it the resources to further increase that reach both internationally and within the United States.

Jason Jordan, Viacom executive vice president of Multiplatform Strategy and Operations, said, “VidCon has become the foremost gathering place for the passionate online video community, and the access to talent, experts and education that VidCon provides for attendees is unparalleled. We’re excited to partner with the team to help achieve their vision and expand VidCon’s reach around the world while maintaining the grassroots energy and authenticity that makes the experience so unique and special to so many.”

USA, New York, NY & Missoula, MT

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Pokémon GO creator Niantic acquires AR startup Escher Reality

NianticThe company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, has acquired augmented reality startup Escher Reality. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Escher Reality builds backend services for cross-platform mobile AR so users can interact with each other and objects in the environment. The startup offered functionality for shared experiences that was absent in both Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. The startup’s investors include Uncork Capital, Founders Fund, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Webb Investment Network, iRobot Ventures, Presence Capital, Into Ventures and others.

Niantic CEO John Hanke said, “The addition of the Escher AR technology is incredibly exciting to us at Niantic as it significantly accelerates our work on persistent, shared AR as part of the Niantic real-world application platform. It’s our intention to make our cross-platform AR technology available more widely to developers later this year.”

Niantic is releasing its next big AR title Harry Potter Wizards Unite this year.

USA, San Francisco & Sunnyvale, CA

Microsoft acquires live game operations startup PlayFab

Microsoft with nameMicrosoft has acquired PlayFab, a startup which helps game developers launch their titles online more quickly with simplified back-end services. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Seattle-based startup had previously raised around $13 million in funding from investors.

PlayFab runs its services for 1,200 cloud-connected games with more than 700 million players, and now Microsoft will integrate PlayFab’s tools into its Azure cloud service.

Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president of gaming at Microsoft, said, “PlayFab’s tools are designed to be used by game developers across all platforms (mobile, PC and console). This acquisition extends the investments and work we’ve done on Microsoft Azure to provide a world-class cloud platform for the gaming industry.”

USA, Redmond & Seattle, WA

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XLMedia acquires websites from Good Game Ltd for €15M

XLMediaXLMedia, a provider of digital performance marketing, has agreed to acquire a number of leading Finnish gambling-related informational websites from Good Game Ltd for a total cash consideration of up to €15 million. The acquisition is expected to complete during the first quarter of 2018 and to be immediately earnings enhancing in the current financial year following completion.

The marketing services company said the acquired websites recorded €1.7 million revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin of “at least” 75% in the year ended November 2017, implying Ebitda of around €1.3 million.

The deal involves an initial consideration of €7.0 million payable with milestones related to the transfer of assets which is expected to take place over three months. A further €7.0 million will be payable contingent on “significant growth in performance” of the acquisition over the subsequent six months.

XLMedia will also pay a share of revenues from the acquisition over the three months transition period. This is expected to amount to around €500,000 but is capped at €1.0 million.

The acquisition comprises a leading network of gambling-related websites focused on web and mobile traffic, specialising in casino games. Active since 2009, the websites provide visitors with useful information such as reviews of online casino websites, comparison of promotions offered by different brands and information on payment solutions. Traffic to and followers of the websites has steadily grown since inception and they now refer a significant number of players to their customers’ websites.

Chief Executive Officer of XLMedia, Ory Weihs, commented: “As we develop our business, we continue to capitalise on the infrastructure we have built, and take opportunities to expand further through acquisitions. With our current network, technology and sector expertise, the additional assets will be integrated easily into our operation, adding to our strong base of assets and recurring revenues. We are seeing good opportunities to buy additional assets in our key verticals, and we plan to continue acquiring domains and websites as part of our ongoing growth strategy.”

UK, Jersey, St. Helier & Malta, Gżira

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Scientific Games Completes Acquisition of NYX Gaming Group

Scientific GamesScientific Games Corporation has completed the previously announced acquisition of NYX Gaming Group Limited. In connection with the completion of the acquisition, the NYX ordinary shares are expected to be delisted from the TSX Venture Exchange on or before the close of business on January 10, 2018.

NYX is a growing B2B real-money digital gaming and sports betting with a staff of more than 1,000 employees globally, including more than 600 engineers and has more than 200 unique customers.

NYX’s worldwide channels, markets and customer base offer new growth opportunities to build on the momentum of Scientific Games’ existing interactive gaming business. The transaction will be accretive to earnings and cash flow this year.

Kevin Sheehan, Scientific Games Chief Executive Officer and President, said, “Today, Scientific Games moves forward as a leading digital provider of sports betting, iGaming and iLottery technologies, platforms, content, products and services.”

USA, Las Vegas, NV

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Sumo Digital acquires CCP Games’ Newcastle studio

Sumo digitalSumo Digital, part of the independent game developer Sumo Group plc, has acquired CCP Games’ Newcastle studio for an undisclosed fee.

The Icelandic CCP Games, founded in 1997, is a virtual-reality games developer, best known for its flagship multiplayer title EVE: Valkyrie.

Paul Porter, Managing Director of Sumo Digital said, “Sumo is interested in all platforms for interactive entertainment, including VR. Although we’re not yet announcing what the Newcastle studio is working on, their proven skills and experience in VR is a great addition for Sumo.”

UK, Sheffield & Iceland, Reykjavik