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THQ Nordic Acquires Milestone, Gunfire Games And Goodbye Kansas Game Invest

by Rainier on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 10:03 p.m. PDT

THQ Nordic just went on a acquisition spree, snapping up racing game developer Milestone, Darksiders developer Gunfire Games and Goodbye Kansas Game Invest.

Gunfire Games

Gunfire is the developer behind the critically acclaimed game series Darksiders, Chronos and From Other Suns and is a long-term development partner of THQ Nordic. Through the acquisition THQ Nordic adds a strong team of RPG experts and award-winning VR developers with an existing intellectual property (IP) portfolio and an exciting new game pipeline.

To put it in THQ Nordic’s words: “We are stoked to have Gunfire on board and are very excited about our collaborative future and the projects we will realise together.”
To put it in Fury’s words: “Welcome to the family, I guess…”

The acquisition includes the development studio that includes a team of 63 creative and technical game developers and all IP rights. The purchase price will not be disclosed. THQ Nordic expects to recoup its investment over the course of 3-4 years as current development projects are released.

“With the acquisition of Gunfire Games we are strengthening THQ Nordic’s footprint in the US and are adding an experienced and talented development team that we know very well from having collaborated on Darksiders. Gunfire will contribute with premier development expertise to the group with realizable synergies from day one. It is with great anticipation of future projects we now welcome the team to the THQ Nordic family”, says Lars Wingefors, Group CEO THQ Nordic AB.

“Having worked together on the development of Darksiders, we are confident that becoming part of THQ Nordic is a great next step for Gunfire. I believe that the experience and publishing capabilities of THQ Nordic will be important in supporting our growth journey and enabling us to continue doing what we love – making great games. We are excited to continue working together going forward.”, says David Adams, CEO Gunfire Games. 

Gunfire, which was founded in 2014 by alumni developers of Vigil Games, is best known for its successful development of action role-playing PC/Console game series Darksiders for THQ Nordic along with Chronos that was awarded Game Informer’s VR Game of The Year. The core team based in Austin, Texas (USA) has worked together for over a decade creating successful games.

THQ Nordic teamed up with Gunfire in 2015 with the publishing of Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition and subsequently with the global hit Darksiders III in 2018. Gunfire will remain an independent development studio under THQ Nordic. The team will continue to create outstanding and unique action adventure games and online/co-op experiences playable on PC/console and VR with full creative freedom and maintained relationships with current publishing partners. Gunfire will continue to be led by CEO David Adams and all active founders will remain in their current roles.

Milestone

THQ Nordic AB's indirectly wholly owned subsidiary Koch Media GmbH has entered into an agreement to acquire Milan-based Milestone, developer and publisher behind successful game series such as MotoGP, MXGP, RIDE and Monster Energy Supercross.

The upfront purchase price is equivalent to 44.9 MEUR on a cash and debt free basis, plus additional earn-out considerations subject to fulfilment of agreed future profitability target. THQ Nordic estimates Milestone to have net revenues in the range of 27.5-32.25 MEUR, EBITDA of 15.5-18.0 MEUR and Operating EBIT of 10.75-12.5 MEUR in its next financial year ending June 2020.

”Milestone has developed racing games for 25 years now and is leading the two-wheel racing game genre today. With 50 developed games since inception, 8 million copies sold since 2013 and five games under development I am convinced that Milestone will see continued success in the future. I am thrilled to welcome Luisa and her experienced team to the THQ Nordic group", says Lars Wingefors, CEO of THQ Nordic AB.

“As one of the leading companies in the racing games industry, we have assembled an experienced team and a large and growing portfolio of titles that we believe will fit perfectly with, and benefit from, THQ Nordic’s network of development studios and publishing capabilities. We are very happy to become part of THQ Nordic and look forward to continuing our growth journey together” says Luisa Bixio, CEO Milestone.

Milestone’s passionate team creates hyper-realistic racing games, which perfectly positions them to catch on to the growing global eSport trend. To continue operating at the forefront of racing games development and offer gamers high-quality games, Milestone has developed a brand-new proprietary AI system based on neuron networks and machine learning, thereby taking user experience to new heights.

Milestone’s portfolio consists of several successful and globally renowned racing game series and has created an attractive business model involving yearly/bi-yearly game releases, supported by a large loyal player base, generating revenues of recurring nature. With five current games under development Milestone has a fully-stacked pipeline based on major portfolio titles and development of new IP.

Koch Media has acted as distribution partner for Milestone’s products on several European markets since 2014. Following completion, Milestone will continue to act as an independent entity under Koch Media, benefitting from joining Koch Media’s development studio network and being able to utilize its strong distribution and publishing capabilities.

Milestone is today led by sole owner Luisa Bixio, who has been with the studio for 10+ years and will after completion continue to lead Milestone as its CEO.

Goodbye Kansas Game Invest

THQ Nordic AB has acquired Goodbye Kansas Game Invest AB (“GKGI”) through its wholly owned subsidiary THQ Nordic Lager 1 AB. The favourable purchase price of SEK 42.4m on a cash and debt free basis is notably below the capital invested by GKGI in its platform and the portfolio companies. Through the acquisition THQ Nordic strengthens its platform for minority investments in promising development studios.

The acquisition includes a portfolio of minority investments in five early-stage development studios; Palindrome Interactive, Fall Damage, Neon Giant, Kavalri and Framebunker as well as royalty rights to THQ Nordic’s upcoming game Biomutant. GKGI’s previous investments in IGDB, Bearded Dragons and Goodbye Kansas VR will be retained in Goodbye Kansas AB.

“Goodbye Kansas Game Invest is led by a skilled team with strong insights and experience in developing and growing gaming companies. Besides continuing to support the current portfolio, the transaction provides a great platform for strategic investments in early-stage companies as well as in established teams starting their own development studios”, says Lars Wingefors, Group-CEO THQ Nordic AB.

GKGI was founded in 2016 as an investment company focusing purely on gaming companies under the umbrella of Goodbye Kansas AB. GKGI is managed by a senior team of four gaming executives with a collective industry experience of +45 years that have a broad network and extensive knowledge in the Nordic gaming ecosystem.

GKGI’s investment strategy entails making minority investments in early-stage Nordic gaming companies and supporting their growth journey. The current investment portfolio encompasses an attractive selection of development studios with promising potential.

“The Nordic countries have positioned themselves among the most successful gaming communities in the world and we strongly believe in their continued potential. We are looking forward to partner up with THQ Nordic who share our passion for the gaming industry.”, says Per-Arne Lundberg, CEO Goodbye Kansas Game Invest.

“Goodbye Kansas AB has made a strategic decision to divest Goodbye Kansas Game Invest AB in order to focus on our core business within Studio and Infinite Entertainment. I am satisfied that the new home to Game Invest is THQ Nordic, a company we know well and who we are confident will develop Game Invest further”, says Peter Levin, CEO and founder of Goodbye Kansas AB. 

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