“Foundation 9’s breadth of experience across all platforms and age groups, paired with its innovative and cost-effective approach to launching original properties, place it in a unique position within the videogame industry,” said Brian Ruder, a principal with Francisco Partners. “We plan to work actively with management to continue growing this business in scale and creativity.”
Ruder added that, “Francisco frequently makes follow-on investments behind our platform companies. Relative to other businesses we have evaluated in the videogame sector, Foundation 9 enjoys a low volatility, solid growth, and consistent profitability, making it an excellent platform for further consolidation, and continued deployment of capital.”
“We've had great success – and it’s been a fantastic ride – pursuing, on our own, both a profitable work-for-hire business, as well as layering on new creative opportunities with original IP development,” said Jon Goldman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Foundation 9 Entertainment. “Francisco Partners’ deep resources will enable us to continue creating stronger opportunities for our employees and publishing partners, as well as our partners in the film/TV and consumer products worlds.”
UBS Securities served as advisor to Foundation 9 in this transaction.
Foundation 9 Entertainment was formed just over a year ago by the merger of Backbone Entertainment and The Collective. The company has shipped more than 300 titles since its inception, including the original title Death, Jr. Foundation 9’s games have generated more than $1 billion in consumer sales, with recent successes including the multi-million seller Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the critically acclaimed Age of Empires: The Age of Kings.
In addition, Foundation 9 Entertainment has extensive partnerships and creative interests outside the gaming industry, including a number of relationships with film, television and comic book creators as well as consumer products companies. The company owns a significant minority stake in Hollywood production and management company, Circle of Confusion, whose clients include the Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix. Circle of Confusion recently announced a production deal with CBS.
In other company news, Foundation 9 previewed 15 games currently in development by its studios at the 2006 Electronics Entertainment Expo, including the continuation of its original property, Death, Jr. F9E’s games were displayed in a variety of publisher booths including all three first party hardware manufacturers. In addition, Brooktown High, a new dating simulation developed in conjunction with Konami, received best of show accolades from the San Jose Mercury News. The company’s debut next-gen title, Dirty Harry, published by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, was previewed in special ticketed events off the show floor.