Bigben Interactive acquires French games developer Cyanide for €20M

Bigben interactive logoBigben Interactive has acquired Cyanide, a French studio developing video games for €20 million, obtaining 100% of the company’s shares and voting rights. In the wake of Bigben’s increased stake in the capital of the Kylotonn Racing studio, this transaction will allow the Group, until now a publisher and distributor of video games, to fully integrate the development phase of games.

The transaction is to be paid for half in cash and for half through the issue of Bigben new shares in order to remunerate the transfer of Cyanide shares (dilution ranging from 3.5% to 4.0% of Bigben’s current share capital).

In order to avoid any further dilution, Bigben also purchased all potential capital instruments on the day of the transaction for an additional € 1.1 million in cash.

An earn-out capped and based on the net profit of Cyanide (and its subsidiaries) for FY 2018-19 (as at 31 March 2019) may be paid in September 2019. The closing of the transaction is scheduled to take place in June 2018.

Created in 2000 by 7 seasoned developers of the video game industry, Cyanide is one of the French reference studios recognized for the development of creative video games in numerous genres (strategy, narrative, shooting, management, sport, action and adventure) as well as for the quality of its productions.

Based in France (Paris and Bordeaux) and in Canada with 110 employees on its payroll, the studio expects €6.1 million sales and a €1.9 million net profit for financial year 2017/2018 (closing on 31 March 2018, pending audit results).

Alain Falc, chairman and CEO of Bigben, said, “This acquisition is a capital milestone in Bigben’s strategy as it greatly enhances our ability to create new games that meet our ambitions in the AA segment. Bigben is also proud to welcome to its Group the talents of Cyanide, one of the most creative French studios in the sector and we will be supporting their upswing towards new, even more ambitious projects.”

France, Lesquin & Nanterre

ReedPOP acquires Gamer Network

ReedpopReed Exhibitions’ games and pop culture live events division ReedPOP is adding Gamer Network and its portfolio of events, websites, and video channels to its portfolio. The addition of Gamer Network marks ReedPOP’s first expansion beyond the event production business. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Gamer Network is home to editorial and community websites and YouTube channels, including flagship brands Eurogamer, RockPaperShotgun, GamesIndustry.biz, VG247, Outside Xbox, Digital Foundry and USgamer. The company also organises the UK’s biggest games event, EGX and the world class indie games event, EGX Rezzed.

The combination of the two portfolios gives ReedPOP the opportunity to combine its live games events across four continents with a worldwide online community of over 50 million monthly users.

Lance Fensterman, global head of ReedPOP said, “Gamer Network is one of the world’s leading voices for gamers and gaming culture. The opportunity to be in business with Rupert Loman and the brands, events and team he has created is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Bringing ReedPOP and Gamer Network together, PAX and EGX together – these are the kinds of mash ups you dream of. We are beyond excited to dream up new concepts that will blow the minds of fans all over the world.”

USA, Norwalk, CT & UK, Brighton

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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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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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Keywords Studios acquires games developer Sperasoft

keywords

Keywords Studios, an international technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Russian game development business Sperasoft from the founders Igor Efremov, Alexei Kudriashov and Mark Rizzo.
The total consideration is $27 million. Keywords Studios are paying $22 million in cash, $1 million of which is deferred until the first anniversary of the acquisition. The remainder will be paid through the issue of new shares, which will be issued to the sellers on the first anniversary of the acquisition.

 

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Sperasoft provides game development, art creation and software engineering services to video game developers and publishers around the world from its production studios in St Petersburg and Volgograd, Russia and Krakow, Poland. Founded in 2004, Sperasoft employs 400 software engineers and artists. The company offers a full range of services for initial game development as well as developing games in live operations.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer of Keywords Studios, said, “The acquisition of Sperasoft provides us with an entry point into co-development, positioning us as a strategic partner to games developers at the early stages of the games development lifecycle. As games are becoming bigger and are higher definition, game developers are increasingly relying upon co-development arrangements with companies like Sperasoft to provide them with broader capability to develop both initial games and additional content and features post launch.”

USA, Santa Clara, CA & Ireland, Dublin

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Unity Technologies Acquires Game Hosting Division of Multiplay from GAME Digital, PLC

Unity Technologies Inc.Unity Technologies creator of the world’s most popular creation engine that reaches nearly three billion devices worldwide, announced today that the company has entered into a definitive acquisition to acquire Multiplay Ltd and its game hosting business from GAME Digital plc for £19M GBP.

Multiplay is a leading specialist in online game server hosting. Multiplay’s hybrid cloud technology powers some of the world’s largest online games, automatically scaling to meet global player demand. Multiplay’s hybrid approach blends a global network of bare metal servers with the flexible burst capacity from the leading cloud providers and offers a 24/7 team of gaming specialists for round-the-clock monitoring and support to players.

GAME Digital plc comprises three divisions: Retail, Events and esports and Digital Solutions, and delivers for the gaming communities of the UK, Spain and elsewhere. The events business and its associated IP’s will remain with GAME.

John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies, said, “The team at Multiplay have created scalable multiplayer technology that gives all game creators, from indies to AAA studios, the ability to create performant experiences that can serve hundreds of thousands of players at once. We welcome the Multiplay team to the Unity family.”

USA, San Francisco, CA, England, Southampton

Kabam acquires games studios TapZen and Magic Pixel Games

kabam1Kabam has acquired Los Angeles-based games studios TapZen and Magic Pixel Games. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. TapZen and Magic Pixel will be merged into a new Kabam branded Los Angeles studio near Culver City.

TapZen was founded by Mike Verdu in 2012 and worked with Magic Pixel Games to create the bombastic mobile strategy game This Means War!. As part of Kabam, both TapZen and Magic Pixel will continue to build out the company’s strategy game lineup, which already includes franchises including Kingdoms of Camelot, Dragons of Atlantis, and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, each of which have generated more than $100 million in revenue.

“Welcoming TapZen and Magic Pixel into the Kabam family is another significant milestone for Kabam,” said Co-Founder and CEO Kevin Chou. “The addition of Mike Verdu augments our world-class leadership team, and having a Los Angeles studio will strengthen Kabam’s already-deep relationships with our Hollywood partners.”

The acquisition of TapZen and Magic Pixel bring to nine the number of studios Kabam has acquired since 2010. Earlier acquisitions include of Phoenix Age (2014), Exploding Barrel Games (2013), Gravity Bear, Fearless Studios, Wild Shadow and Balanced World Studio (2012), and Wonderhill (2010).

USA, Los Angeles, CA

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