Saudi wealth fund to snap up Scopely for $4.9 billion in one of largest-ever gaming deals

Savvy Games Group, established by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has announced its decision to acquire mobile developer and publisher Scopely. The company is best known for titles based on the Marvel and Star Trek franchises.

Savvy Games Group acquires Scopely for $4.9 billion

Marvel Strike Force

What happened?

  • According to the official announcement, the Scopely acquisition is worth $4.9 billion. But it is unclear when the deal, which is also subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close.
  • This should strengthen Savvy Games Group’s position in the global games market, thanks to Scopely’s development capabilities and expertise in mobile.
  • The mobile publisher will in turn receive long-term financial support to deliver on its growth strategy and expand into new segments such as PC and consoles.
  • “As part of the Savvy Games Group portfolio, we will continue to build one of the world’s most diversified mobile-first games companies,” Scopely co-CEO Javier Ferreira said.

Who is Scopely?

  • Founded in 2011, Scopely is best known for mobile games like Marvel Strike Force, Star Trek Fleet Command, YAHTZEE With Buddies, and Walking Dead: Road to Survival.
  • According to AppMagic, Scopely makes an average of roughly $40 million per month from in-app purchases. In total, its mobile portfolio has reached $3.5 billion in lifetime revenue and generated nearly 430 million downloads.
  • Marvel Strike Force is Scopely’s highest-grossing game, with $673 million in revenue. It is followed by Star Trek Fleet Command ($563 million) and Tiki Solitaire TriPeaks ($468 million).
  • Last year, Scopely acquired Fall Guys-like mobile hit Stumble Guys from Finnish studio Kitka Games. It has reached $90 million in revenue and surpassed 300 million downloads (via AppMagic).

Savvy Games Group’s gaming ambitions

  • Founded and controlled by Mohammed bin Salman, the Public Investment Fund has a long history of gaming deals. In 2022, it established Savvy Games Group as a subsidiary primarily focused on the games industry.
  • Last year, Savvy acquired a 5% stake in Nintendo for $3 billion. It also owns minority stakes in other Asian game companies such as Capcom, Nexon, and NCSoft.
  • The PIF has also invested in Western publishers, including Activision Blizzard, Take-Two, and Electronic Arts. Not to mention its $1 billion investment in Swedish holding company Embracer Group.
  • In 2022, Savvy Games Group also announced its plans to invest $38 billion in gaming as part of its global expansion strategy. Out of this amount, $13 billion was allocated to M&A deals and $18 billion to minority acquisitions.

Scopely deal ranks among top 10 most expensive video game acquisitions

  • If the Scopely acquisition is cleared by regulators, it would rank as the 6th largest-ever M&A deal in the gaming sector.
  • Right now, the top spot belongs to Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. But it is yet to be approved by regulators in the US and Europe.
  • The top 5 also includes Take-Two’s acquisition of Zynga ($12.7 billion), Tencent’s deal to buy 81.4% of Supercell ($8.6 billion), Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax ($7.5 billion), and Activision’s acquisition of King ($5.9 billion).
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