The company that owns Gamigo bought out Wizard101 studio KingsIsle too

    
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Tis the season for selling and buying MMO companies, apparently. Adding to the Daybreak and Albion Online pile is KingsIsle Entertainment, which has apparently just been sold – to the same company that owns Gamigo.

Last March, we covered how Media and Games Invest (MGI), which already owned most of Gamigo and whose CEO already ran both companies, bought most of the rest of the it, clearly aiming to turn Gamigo into a fully owned subsidiary. Now, MGI has bought another MMORPG company, picking up 100% of Kingsisle, which as readers will know owns and operates both Wizard101 and Pirate101. The press release says the purchase price was $126M, with up to $84M in earnouts if the games do well.

“Media and Games Invest […] has yesterday at 23:45 CET entered into an agreement with the shareholders of KingsIsle Entertainment Inc. […] to acquire 100 percent of the shares of KingsIsle […] for a fixed cash consideration of USD 126 million on a cash- and debt- free basis […] plus up to USD 84 million that may be paid to the sellers as earn-out payment […], dependent on the level of future revenues. All consideration shall be paid in cash. […] As part of the Transaction, MGI has resolved on a directed share issue of 11,676,241 new ordinary MGI shares at a price of EUR 2.14 which corresponds to a discount of 4% on the average closing share price on Xetra of the last twenty trading days. The share issue is directed to funds advised by Oaktree Capital Management and will generate proceeds of EUR 25 million.”

Is it worth that much? Maybe. MGI says that “KingsIsle [earned] EUR 12 million of adjusted EBITDA during the first nine months 2020” – and MGI itself pulled in 19M EUR. MGI also talks up the acquisition, which suggests KingsIsle is “is expected to materially increase the size and profitability,” primarily on Wizard101’s success. (Pirate101, of course, is in a de facto maintenance mode right now, and its fans are trying to save it.)

Source: Press release. Thanks so much, Clowd and Anon!
Update
KingsIsle has now addressed the buyout itself, characterizing it as a buyout by Gamigo rather than Gamigo’s parent company. “First of all, let me assure you that the friendly faces that you’ve come to know and love aren’t changing and we’re full steam ahead on the next updates and laying the foundation for the year to come,” Lead Producer Leah Ruben says. “We’re still here, we’re still KingsIsle, and we’re not planning on slowing down.”

“Gamigo is enthusiastic about the same things we have always been excited about at KingsIsle. First and foremost, we have the best community out there. Period. We’ve discussed how helpful and positive y’all are, they’re quite impressed! Second, it’s a very rare and precious thing for an MMO game to be thriving as it approaches it’s teenage years, which is certainly in part because of you – our amazing community. Gamigo is excited to become a part of such a wonderous phenomenon. In 2020’s Producer’s letters, I spoke in length about gearing Wizard101 up for the next decade with various overhauls and revamps. Gamigo and the team have talked about the long view, how we’re in this to keep the game thriving through the next ten anniversaries and beyond, and we both endeavor to make that happen. We’re committed to keeping the updates flowing, and… there may be some exciting opportunities outside of what you’ve come to expect. Stay tuned.”

The studios are also giving out some boosters in celebration.

“Use the code KIGamigoGift for a free Deckathalon Balance Rune Pack and a free Deckathalon Balance Tower pack in Wizard101 to give you a leg up, and a free Pirate Nightmare Booster Pack in Pirate101.”

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

Just one comment on this unexpected bombshell? Does no-one play Wizard 101 any more?

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Shadex De'Marr

“KingIsle Devs Tell Pirate101 Players to Walk the Plank”

No mention of their other game even after those players have been waiting years for updates. Cold KingIsle, stone cold. But hey, last few years haven’t exactly been good for discounting the reality that most game devs care more about making money than any concern for their player base.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“most game devs care more about making money than any concern for their player base” Well, they are a business, not a hobby or personal passion.