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Netflix acquires Next Games in Finland, publisher of Stranger Things and Walking Dead games, for $72M – TechCrunch

As Finland mulls becoming a member of Nato in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, one other bit of M&A goes down in the nation. Today Netflix announced that it will be buying Next Games, a developer of cell video games in the nation for a complete worth of €65 million ($72 million). Next Games is listed on the general public markets in Helsinki, and the deal is being carried out as an all-cash share buy at €2.10 in case per share. The board of the gaming firm has already authorized the deal and is recommending it to shareholders though it has but to be accomplished however is predicted to shut in Q2 2022.

The deal is an element of Neflix’s larger technique to construct out its gaming content material as a complement to its video catalogue and Next Games is an ideal match. THE free-to-play cell video games publisher already has developed titles associated to some of Netflix’s greatest attracts, akin to Stranger Things and The Walking Dead — that means the 2 firms already had a powerful relationship. This deal will cement that, and enhance Netflix’s margins past merely licensing the manufacturers, by bringing Next Games’ IP, expertise, and current enterprise promoting in-app purchases, in home.

“Next Games has a seasoned management team, strong track record with mobile games based on entertainment franchises, and solid operational capabilities,” mentioned Michael Verdu, VP of video games at Netflix, in a press release. “We are excited for Next Games to join Netflix as a core studio in a strategic region and key talent market, expanding our internal game studio capabilities. While we’re just getting started in games, I am confident that together with Next Games we will be able to build a portfolio of world class games that will delight our members around the world.”

Next Games had 120 staff on the finish of 2021 and its final annual outcomes confirmed €27.2 million in revenues 2020. Some 95% of its gross sales got here from in-game (in-app) purchases that yr. Now it should have extra funding to double down on current titles and construct out extra on Netflix’s catalogue.

Teemu Huuhtanen, who based Next Games in 2013 and is its CEO, is an alum of Finland’s in depth gaming ecosystem, which has performed an enormous function in breaking new floor in gaming through the years. Right earlier than Next Games, he was an exec at Rovio, the Angry Birds publisher (this was at a time when it was nonetheless a formidable presence on app shops). Before that he was at Sulake for a few decade. spent virtually a decade at Sulake, a trailblazer in the web digital worlds class with the creation of Habbo Hotel (now known as Habbo, having weathered many an issue in intervening years).

“We have had an unwavering focus to execute on our vision: to become the partner of choice for global entertainment businesses and craft authentic and long-lasting interactive entertainment based on the world’s most beloved franchises,” mentioned Huuhtanen in a statement. “Joining forces with the world’s largest streaming service, Netflix, presents an opportunity for a logical and exciting continuation of our strategy to craft interactive experiences for the world to enjoy. Our close collaboration with Netflix on Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales has already proven that together we create a strong partnership. This is a unique opportunity to level-up the studio on all fronts and continue on our mission together.”

For all its dimension, Netflix has solely made a handful of acquisitions through the years — five in all in keeping with CrunchBase knowledge. Next Games is its first particularly in gaming, though the others embody a visible results studio, two interactive content material makers for youthful audiences, an anime comics publisher and the Roald Dahl property, so arguably, there’s been a gaming angle in its M&A technique all alongside.

And at a time when firms like Disney can proceed to tug the rug from below Netflix’s by yanking away key video content material to enhance the choice on their very own streaming video platforms, that is additionally a method for Netflix to fertilize its personal walled backyard. Buying one thing like Next Games underscores a technique to provide or purchase in its personal unique work, and now construct out larger franchises based mostly on it throughout a number of screens and experiences.

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