Best offers and investments in esport in 2020 and 2021 | Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the esports community has enjoyed an explosive year of investment growth in 2020 and early 2021. Here is a brief summary of some of the most significant esports acquisitions and investment transactions over the past year. past year.
As for major investments, in August 2020, Bitkraft Enterprises, a global esports venture capital firm, raised $ 165 million to invest in e-sports, games and interactive entertainment, closing well above its original target of $ 125 million. The Bitkraft fund was backed by investment firms such as Carolwood, Declaration Partners and JS Capital, as well as private investors Logitech and Advance. Jen Hilgers, Founding Partner of Bitkraft, commented: “At Bitkraft, we not only support forward-thinking entrepreneurs with capital, but we also provide experience, resources and our global network. Bitkraft seems well positioned to continue its influence in the esports world.
In September 2020, the Premier League mobile (MPL), Asia’s largest mobile gaming and esports platform, raised $ 90 million up its Series C sleeve. The round was led by SIG and early stage tech investors RTP Global, MDI Ventures and Pegasus Tech Ventures. Existing investors Sequoia India, Base Partners and Go-Ventures also participated. Sai Srinivas, CEO and Co-Founder of MPL, said in a public statement: “In a short time, MPL has taken the gaming market by storm with our various offerings and partnerships, which have helped us to differentiate ourselves in the world. ‘industry. This latest round of funding will allow us to entertain and connect an even larger audience across India and beyond. The Series C round brought MPL’s total funding to $ 130.5 million after previously raising $ 40.5 million. MPL has a growing base of over 60 million users and has recorded over 2 billion cash transactions on the app to date—A huge and growing hub on the world’s most populous continent that seems worth the investment.
In October 2020, VSPN closed a $ 100 million Series B financing round, led by Tencent, Tiantu Capital, SIG and Kuaishou. Founded in 2016, VSPN specializes in content creation and hosting esports tournaments and has partnered with over 70% of Chinese esports tournaments. “Tencent is delighted to support VSPN,” said Mars Hou, General Manager of Tencent Esports. “VSPN’s long-term corporate vision and leadership position in esports production is essential for Tencent to optimize the development configuration of the esports industry. VSPN is hosting top tier competitions in China for PUBG, Clash Royale, League of Legends, FIFA and other games, so this looks like another well-designed investment.
Also in October 2020, Guild Esports, based in London and co-owned by football star David Beckham, has completed its Initial Public Offering on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of 41.2 million euros ($ 52.3 million) – an impressive achievement since the launch of Guild Esports in June 2020. The transaction was led by brokers Zeus Capital and Miraband Securities. The money will be invested in branding, recruiting and scaling in various esports including Rocket league, Fortnite, CS: GO and FIFA. Guild is the first esports franchise to join the LSE and is further proof of the reach of esports globally.
The Malta-based gaming company Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) concluded a agreement to acquire Helix eSports and B2B software provider ggCircuit in October 2020 in a deal valued at around $ 43 million. Helix eSports operates five game centers in the United States, while ggCircuit provides a cloud-based management system, tournament platform, and integrated point-of-sale solutions for corporate clients. EEG has over 1,000 connected locations, with customers ranging from GameStop, Dell and Best Buy, as well as several North American universities. This Helix / ggCircuit transaction should further strengthen EEG’s position in the market.
The last major transaction in October 2020 was the games and entertainment live streaming network VENN announcing the closing of a $ 26 million Series A funding round. The round was led by seed cycle investor Bitkraft and Nextstar Media Group, Eldridge, Wise Ventures and others. “With this new funding round, VENN is positioned for its next phase of growth as we plan to further expand our content creation capabilities and continue to improve the delivery of our ‘instant and anywhere’ viewing experience,” commented Ben Kusin, CEO of VENN and co-founder. VENN is a 24/7 network for gaming, streaming, esports, and entertainment audiences on a wide range of media platforms including YouTube, Roku Channel, and others. While not nearly as big as other recent deals, this Series A cycle seems timely to help VENN’s continued growth as a large-scale gaming platform.
As for significant acquisitions, in December 2020, game developer and publisher Electronic arts (EA) has reached a agreement to acquire UK-based racing game developer and publisher Codemasters in a deal valued at $ 1.2 billion. The deal canceled a previous deal whereby rival Take-Two Interactive agreed to acquire Codemasters for around $ 971 million last year. Codemasters are best known for their Formula One and Dirt racing games, and the acquisition will complement EA’s popular racing game Need of speed. This combination arguably created the world leader in racing games.
More recently, in March 2021, Chinese tech company and owner of TikTok, ByteDance, announced the buyout of Moonton, the game developer behind Mobile Legends: Bang Bang via its subsidiary Nuverse in a deal valued at around $ 4.06 billion. Tencent apparently also made an offer for Moonton, which ByteDance then matched.
In this context, the spectacular investment and growth of the esports ecosystem is well placed to continue unabated.
 See, MPL Raises $ 90 Million in Series C Funding – UKTN (UK Tech News)
 See, Tencent leads $ 100 million Series B funding round for Chinese esports provider VSPN (msn.com)