Ubisoft acquires Green Panda Games

Ubisoft logoUbisoft has acquired a 70% stake in Green Panda Games, a leading publisher of free-to-play mobile games, specialized in hyper-casual games. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013 and based in Paris, Green Panda Games develops and publishes games in the idle genre. With a 30-person team, Green Panda Games has launched more than 55 games since its creation, downloaded by some 85 million players worldwide. Many of its games have been instant hits, such as Bee Factory, Sushi Bar and Terrarium. Green Panda Games will bring to Ubisoft a sharp editorial vision in the idle games segment, data-based iterative creative processes and expertise in both user acquisition and ad monetization strategies.

Commenting on the deal, Jean-Michel Detoc, Executive Director of Ubisoft Mobile, said, “This acquisition strengthens our position in the hyper-casual market, particularly within the idle games segment. Bringing Green Panda Games into the Group fits seamlessly with our aim of offering a diversified and high-quality line-up of mobile games to an ever-wider audience. We are very excited that this talented team is joining Ubisoft’s creative force”.

France, Montreuil & Paris

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Terrapinn acquires Accounting Business Expo and Accountech Live

TerrapinnGlobal events company Terrapinn the global events company has acquired Accounting Business Expo and Accountech Live, the two market leading exhibitions in Australia in the Accountancy and Finance Management field. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Accounting Business Expo and Accountech Live were acquired from National Media, a leading Australian exhibitions organiser. Accounting Business Expo is an independent and vendor neutral showcase for tools, technologies and services for accounting professionals, while Accountech Live is a comprehensive showcase of tech innovation in cloud accounting and the rapidly growing add-on ecosystem.

Terrapinn’s CEO, Greg Hitchen, said, “Accounting Business Expo and Accountech.Live are world-class events in terms of scale and quality of content and bolster our global portfolio of accounting and finance expos. Terrapinn is already a world leader in this sector, with expos in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Johannesburg.”

UK, London & Australia, Bundall, QLD

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Comcast acquires cybersecurity developer BluVector

Comcast Corporation logoThe Comcast Corporation has acquired BluVector, a company that uses advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide cybersecurity protection to companies and government agencies. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With a proprietary machine-learning engine, BluVector detects, analyses, and contains a wide range of sophisticated cyber-threats including “fileless malware,” zero-day malware and ransomware. BluVector has won a wide array of cybersecurity industry awards and recognition for its innovation and unique technological approach. It is a trusted partner to both Fortune 500 companies and large government agencies working to tackle some of the nation’s most critical challenges. The two companies will work together to grow BluVector’s existing business and also collaborate on the development of new cybersecurity technologies.

Don Mathis, General Manager of Growth at Comcast, said, “BluVector is a global leader in leveraging AI and machine learning to defend against advanced cyber threats. We’re thrilled that BluVector is part of Comcast and are excited to support its continued growth, even as we explore new opportunities to leverage BluVector technology and expertise.”

Eric Malawer, a veteran leader with more than two decades of experience in data analytics, artificial intelligence, national intelligence and digital security, has been named CEO of BluVector and will lead the company as it continues to grow its business as part of Comcast. Malawer previously served as cybersecurity staff director for the House Committee on Homeland Security, and prior to his role at BluVector, he launched three AI and security companies. BluVector founding CEO Kris Lovejoy, who recently left to assume another role, will continue to serve as an advisor and consultant to BluVector and Comcast.

USA, Philadelphia, PA & Arlington, VA

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Nielsen acquires Sorensen Media

NielsenMeasurement and data analytics company Nielsen has acquired Sorenson Media, an addressable TV technology provider that will help transform TV from a one-to-many to a one-to-one medium by powering addressable ad delivery and measurement. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the deal, Nielsen announced the launch of a new technology, product and commercial initiative, Nielsen Advanced Video Advertising, that will focus on expanding and innovating addressable advertising for Smart TVs and beyond.

Over the last several years, Nielsen has made a number of strategic acquisitions that have strengthened its technology offerings and positioned it to thrive in the addressable TV future. It acquired Qterics, a Smart TV software and privacy management company. Integrated into the firmware layer of millions of Smart TVs, Gracenote’s ACR technology provides the ability for real-time, frame-level ad detection regardless of source or platform. And the most recent acquisition of Sorenson Media completes Nielsen’s go-to-market technology stack with an end-to-end ad delivery solution enabling addressable advertising for TV at scale.

David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen, said, “It’s clear that a significant portion of TV advertising will be addressable long into the future. With the continued evolution of our Total Audience measurement, underpinned by decades of trust, transparency and independence, it was evident that we needed to bring our unique set of technology assets and talent to tackle the greatest challenges the TV advertising industry is facing. And with the Sorenson Media acquisition, we can create improved value and efficiency across the entire media chain – from ad targeting and delivery to measurement and attribution – and make addressable TV more of a reality.”

UK, Oxford & USA, Salt Lake City, UT

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RTL Netherlands acquires media company BrandDeli

RTL NetherlandsRTL Netherlands is to acquire BrandDeli, the sales house for the Discovery, Fox and Viacom brand portfolio for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is the result of RTL Netherlands, Discovery Benelux, Fox Networks Group Benelux and Viacom International Media Networks entering into a strategic sales partnership as of 1 January 2019.

RTL will be granted the right to sell advertising space for at least three years for the Discovery, Fox and Viacom brand portfolio, offering a wider range of spot time, branded partnerships and online (video and display) advertising space.

Advertisers will have access to a larger overall reach, especially in younger target groups in both daytime and prime time slots. Discovery, Fox and Viacom also keep the opportunity to sell their own airtime.

Ton Rozestraten, CCO RTL Netherlands, said, “In five years, BrandDeli has grown into a successful company that we look at with admiration. Cooperation enables us to market an even wider and more varied range of products with the beautiful brands that BrandDeli represents. It fits in with our growth strategy to strengthen our position as a local player within the globalising playing field. Like no other, we are able to reach the masses with high-quality programmes and digital propositions. By combining this strength with BrandDeli’s rich cross-media offering (apps, social media, linear TV and websites), we offer advertisers access to an even more varied and growing fan base.”

Netherlands, Hilversum & Amsterdam

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Centaur Media Plc to divest digital platform, events & financial services divisions

centaur-logoFollowing a strategic review, Centaur, the international provider of market intelligence and specialist consultancy, is accelerating the simplification of the Group’s structure to improve operational execution and to focus attention on the leading brands within its marketing division.

Centaur is looking at the potential sale of The Lawyer, which operates a digital platform to provide intelligence and analysis to the global legal market; of its events division, including the Business Travel Show, The Meetings Show, Sub Con and Employee Benefits, and of its financial services division, which includes Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money.

Andria Vidler, Centaur Chief Executive, said, “Centaur has made substantial progress this year and these appointments will help us to deliver on our strategy to create a more focused business with good opportunities to grow its revenues and margins. We will work with our advisers to explore divestment possibilities and ensure that shareholder value is maximised.”

UK, London

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THQ Nordic acquires game development studios Coffee Stain and Bugbear

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired both Coffee Stain Studios, developers of Deep Rock Galactic, A Story About My Uncle, and the Satisfactory, and Bugbear Entertainment, who created Flatout and Wreckfest. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Lars Wingefors, CEO of THQ Nordic, said, “We are creating a complementary digital native pillar to THQ Nordic. Coffee Stain is a passionate and highly competent team creating and publishing great games. After some years without major releases, the pipeline of new game releases such as Satisfactory and Deep Rock Galactic look strong. I look forward to working together with Anton Westbergh and his team in the future.”

THQ Nordic now has a sizeable array of studios and IPs, with over 55 games in active development.

Austria, Vienna, Sweden, Skövde & Finland, Helsinki

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Ascential acquires Flywheel Digital for $60M

Ascential plcGlobal specialist information and events company Ascential plc is to acquire Flywheel Digital, a leading US-based provider of managed services to consumer product companies trading on Amazon, for an initial cash consideration of $60 million plus earn out payments payable over three years.

Founded in 2014, Flywheel offers customers Amazon-specific software, tools and expertise to drive sales and brand performance across Amazon platforms by directly actioning solutions for clients. Flywheel’s proprietary platforms and processes optimise brands’ online operations, including merchandising, supply logistics and media management. Flywheel primarily serves large-scale US consumer product companies, with more than 70 customers and more than 90 staff based in Baltimore and Seattle.

The initial consideration of US$60m (subject to normal working capital adjustments) is being paid out of Ascential’s existing cash reserves using capital released from the sale of the Exhibitions business. Earn out consideration is payable in cash based on the revenue of the business for the next three years to 2021 and is expected to total between approximately US$47m and US$196m. A portion of the earn out is subject to the founders remaining in employment with the company. The total potential consideration, including both initial consideration and earn out payments, is capped at US$400m in the event that extremely stretching revenue levels are reached.

In the year ended December 2017, Flywheel grew its revenue by more than 150% and delivered unaudited profit before tax of $4.8m. It had gross assets of $23.9m at December 2017. The transaction is expected to be earnings accretive in Ascential’s current financial year.

Flywheel will report to Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential. The business will be reported as part of Ascential’s Sales segment alongside the newly integrated Edge business (comprising One Click Retail, Clavis, Planet Retail RNG and Brand View) which offers a range of insight and advisory solutions to improve performance across Amazon and other eCommerce platforms.

Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, commented, ‘We have a clear focus on providing information and capabilities that enable our customers to succeed in the digital economy. The acquisition of Flywheel is in line with this strategy, further strengthening our offerings in eCommerce for brands navigating the digital market places, particularly Amazon.’

UK, London & USA, Seattle, WA

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IBM to acquire Red Hat for $34bn

IBMIBM and Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source cloud software, have reached a definitive agreement under which IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190.00 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $34 billion.

Red Hat is a leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybridRed Hat cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments.

Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “The acquisition of Red Hat is a game-changer. It changes everything about the cloud market. IBM will become the world’s #1 hybrid cloud provider, offering companies the only open cloud solution that will unlock the full value of the cloud for their businesses. Most companies today are only 20 percent along their cloud journey, renting compute power to cut costs. The next 80 percent is about unlocking real business value and driving growth. This is the next chapter of the cloud. It requires shifting business applications to hybrid cloud, extracting more data and optimizing every part of the business, from supply chains to sales.”

Upon closing of the acquisition, Red Hat will join IBM’s Hybrid Cloud team as a distinct unit, preserving the independence and neutrality of Red Hat’s open source development heritage and commitment, current product portfolio and go-to-market strategy, and unique development culture. Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and Red Hat’s current management team. Jim Whitehurst also will join IBM’s senior management team and report to Ginni Rometty. IBM intends to maintain Red Hat’s headquarters, facilities, brands and practices.

USA, Armonk, NY and Raleigh, NC

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CloserStill Media acquires a majority stake in The eLearning Guild in the US

CloserStillCloserStill Media has acquired a majority stake in FocusZone Media, Inc., operating as The eLearning Guild, for an undisclosed sum. The eLearning Guild has a 40,000+ membership community of learning and development professionals in the United States and across the world. The Guild operates major conferences and exhibitions including DevLearn (Las Vegas, NV), Learning Solutions (Orlando, FL) and Realities 360 (San Jose, CL) and has a number of digital publications as well as research and online events.

CloserStill runs the world’s leading workplace learning event brand, Learning Technologies, with three market leading annual events in London, Berlin (with Online Educa) and Paris, a global digital community and the industry’s leading awards programme for corporate learning and development professionals. The London event in February is Europe’s largest annual exhibition and conference for the workplace learning sector attracting more than 8,000 attendees and over 200 exhibitors.

CloserStill’s Learning Group Managing Director, Mark Penton, said, “We are delighted to welcome The eLearning Guild and their impressive event portfolio to our growing global network and are incredibly excited by the huge opportunities this will create. And most importantly, we look forward to enhancing the collaboration between our family of learning brands and their learning communities around the world.”

USA, Santa Rosa, CL & UK, London

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