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GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 37

M&A and Capital Raising

Skillz Set To Go Public (link)

LionTree acted as financial advisor to Skillz

  • Skillz Inc., (“Skillz”) a leading mobile games platform connecting players in fair, fun, and meaningful competition, and Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: FEAC) (“Flying Eagle”), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, agreed to a business combination that will result in Skillz becoming a publicly-listed company
  • Skillz is pioneering the competitive mobile gaming experience, powering tournaments for thousands of game developers around the world, expanding and leading growth in the mobile gaming market
  • It is anticipated that in 2020, Skillz’s patented technology will power over two billion casual esports tournaments and facilitate $1.6 billion in paid entry fees for games hosted on its secure and proprietary platform
  • Key Highlights:
    • The transaction implies an equity valuation for Skillz of $3.5 billion, or 6.3x projected 2022 revenue
    • Investors including Wellington, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, and Neuberger Berman funds have committed to a $159 million PIPE with total commitments exceeding $250 million
    • High growth business with projected 2022 revenue of $555 million, a 57% CAGR from 2020
    • Andrew Paradise, CEO & Founder of Skillz, and Casey Chafkin, CRO and Founder of Skillz, will continue to lead the company
    • Existing Skillz stockholders and Flying Eagle sponsor agree to 24-month lock-up

Huuuge Inc. files prospectus with Polish Financial Supervision Authority for potential IPO (link)

  • Mobile games applications provider Huuuge Inc. plans an initial public offering on the Warsaw Stock Exchange
  • Huuuge Inc. said it has submitted an IPO prospectus to Poland’s financial market regulator KNF, but provided no details regarding the share offer or its timetable

Voodoo invests in Istanbul-based developer studio Fabrika Games (link)

  • As part of the agreement, the two companies will come together to work on a variety of new titles, and explore opportunities within the Turkish market
  • Founded in 2019, Fabrika is best known for Draw Car which was released last year and has accumulated more than 50 million downloads. Currently, the development studio boasts a team of 11

Gamezop secures $4.3 million in Series A funding (link)

  • The investment was led by esports specialist Bitkraft Esports Ventures, who recently secured $165 million for games industry investments. Other participants included Velo Partners, FJ Labs and Survam Partners

Highlights

Apple delays privacy policy changes to next year (link)

  • Apple will delay changes to its privacy policies that could have a negative impact on Facebook and other companies with an iOS user base
  • As reported by Reuters, the delay would be welcomed by Facebook, who recently made its negative thoughts on the iOS 14 changes public

Apple follows through with threat as it removes Epic’s developer account (link)

  • Apple has gone through with its promise to terminate Epic Games’ developer accounts
  • As confirmed by Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman – via Twitter – the account removal will effectively prevent Epic from adding apps or updates to games on the App Store. The American firm had already confirmed that iOS users would not get access to the next season of Fortnite

Niantic reveals cellular partners for 5G consumer AR platform (link)

  • Niantic is announcing the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance, a collection of cellular partners that will help distribute “exclusive 5G-ready AR content” and demonstrate 5G consumer AR experiences to the public
  • Niantic’s initial partners are Deutsche Telekom, EE, Globe, Orange, SK Telecom, SoftBank, Telus, and Verizon, representing countries ranging from the United States and United Kingdom to South Korea, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, and parts of Europe
  • Collectively, the group’s marketing efforts and large number of retail locations could play a critical role in popularizing consumer AR across the world

PUBG Mobile gets hit with a ban in India (link)

  • Tencent’s PUBG Mobile is one of 118 apps with a link to China to be banned in India
  • As reported by TechCrunch, the offending apps have been removed from the country as they posed a “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” The decision has been made for the security of India, and the protection of mobile users in the nation

GameClub ports 3 new PC games to its mobile subscription service (link)

  • GameClub gives subscribers access to a library of over 100 games for $5 a month. It is similar to Apple Arcade. Both offer a cheap way to enjoy premium games on mobile without having to worry about free-to-play systems like microtransactions
  • However, while most Apple Arcade’s offerings are mobile originals, GameClub specializes in finding PC games that it thinks would be a good fit for smartphones and tablets. It then takes on the porting work
  • GameClub has announced that it’s adding three new titles to its mobile game subscription service: Tokyo 42, Ancestors Legacy, and Chook & Sosig: Walk the Plank

Deutsche Telekom launches cloud gaming platform MagentaGaming (link)

  • The new service is currently available as an over-the-top media service in Germany. Customers will be offered a free three-month trial period
  • “MagentaGaming will increase user experience for a much broader audience thanks to lower entry barriers for high-quality gaming. Together with our great partners, our strong network capabilities in Germany, and the huge existing customer base we are sure that MagentaGaming will drive the cloud gaming market forward” said Deutsche Telekom MagentaGaming chief product officer Dominik Lauf

Big Fish Games cuts 250 jobs and streamlines mobile game operations (link)

  • Big Fish Games announced it has cut 250 jobs as it restructures the mobile game publisher and developer to “address scaling challenges and reinforce the company’s positioning for growth.”
  • In an email to employees, co-presidents Andrew Pedersen and Jason Willig said, “By streamlining the legacy evergreen catalog businesses and refactoring operations, Big Fish will increase investments to drive growth while improving underlying operating capabilities. These decisions, while difficult — and taken only after careful consideration — reinforce a commitment to players and the mission to become a truly great games company.”

Toon Blast achieved over $1 billion in lifetime revenue (link)

  • Peak Games’ Toon Blast has exceeded $1 billion in lifetime revenue according to Sensor Tower
  • The puzzle title was released in 2017 and served as a follow-up to Peak’s other game, Toy Blast, which has amassed around $820 million in revenue. In August 2019, the Istanbul-based developer cracked $1 billion in player spending

Others

CD Projekt-owned studio Spokko soft-launches The Witcher: Monster Slayer (link)

  • The AR location-based title set in the dark fantasy world of The Witcher, will feature “foul creatures” that roam the vast lands of the Continent, leaving it down to monster hunters to track them down

The Witcher 3 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC will get a free next-gen upgrade (link)

  • CD Projekt Red announced that The Witcher III will be available for the next generation of consoles as a free upgrade for those that own the corresponding current generation versions

Wargaming UK rebrands as DPS Games (link)

  • “At DPS Games, we still remain a proud member of the Wargaming family – intrinsically linked through infrastructure, ecosystems and community. That said, our games will be very different – and our players will be, too. Together, we’ve faced many challenges, but we’ve had a huge amount of fun along the way. It is this journey of passion and play that has forged DPS Games, and here, play is everything” said DPS Games studio head Sean Decker

Super Mario 3D World Deluxe is coming to Nintendo Switch in February (link)

  • The company announced the release of Super Mario 3D World Deluxe as part of Super Mario’s 35th anniversary. This updated platformer joins a collection of classic 3D Mario games and a number of other Mario-related product launches to celebrate that birthday

Scopely appoints Aaron Loeb as its new chief business officer (link)

  • In his new role, Loeb will be responsible for bringing teams together to refine Sopely’s game development, creative process and the quality of its tech. He has a wealth of experience in the mobile space, most recently serving as FoxNext Games president. Prior to that, Loeb worked as the president of studios at Kabam

Glu Mobile welcomes Jon David as its new vice president and general manager (link)

  • The exec joins San Francisco-based firm from fan engagement company Taunt, where he served as the CEO. Before that, the 20-year veteran worked for PopCap Games, during his time there, David was the vice president of social games

Roblox hires Barbara Messing as its new chief marketing officer (link)

  • She has joined the company from retail giant Walmart, where she served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for over a year. Before that, she worked as the chief marketing officer for American online travel company TripAdvisor, the exec was with the firm for over seven years

Gaming Public Multiples

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