Israeli social casino gaming giant Playtika has acquired Finnish mobile game publisher Seriously, GamesBeat has learned. The companies confirmed the deal to us, but they did not say what the purchase price was.
We do know that Seriously was asking for hundreds of millions of dollars for a purchase price, but it has only confirmed that it has been on a $100 million run-rate for revenues.
Based in Helsinki, Seriously is the publisher of the Best Fiends, a cartoon-style mobile game that launched in 2014 and has been downloaded close to 100 million times. The game has 1.7 million daily active users, or users that come back daily.
Seriously took a page from the strategy of its neighbor Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds mobile games and films, by launching an animated cartoon based on Best Fiends. Among the all-star voice cast for the animated short films: Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame, who is also one of the best voice actors around (his Joker is iconic).
“They have really strong skill sets in technology, performance marketing, analytics, and live operations that are super impressive and these are areas where we’re looking to scale up,” said Andrew Stalbow, the CEO of Seriously, in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat. “We bring some really strong products, creativity, experience with mass media marketing, and knowledge of the non-traditional channels of the mobile game industry. We felt it could be a good combination.”
The Best Friends films are from Reel FX, creators of The Book of Life, and they were yet another example of how characters first created in mobile games can find their way to other media.
“Given that they already had so many tools that we were going to have to build anyway, it just felt like a really great opportunity for us to work with them,” Stalbow said.
The company received funding from Upfront Ventures, Northzone, Korea Investment Partners, Sunstone Capital, and Daher Capital.
Playtika itself was acquired by a consortium of Chinese game companies and investors for $4.4 billion in 2016. Robert Antokol started Playtika with a team of seasoned veterans in 2010, and it was acquired early on by Caesars Interactive Entertainment. But Caesars sold Playtika in 2016 to pay down debt. At that time, Playtika had more than 2,800 employees. Playtika has done about 15 acquisitions to date, with acquisitions of companies such as Jelly Button and Wooga. Playtika has 17 offices around the world, while Seriously has offices in Helsinki and Los Angeles.
“Best Fiends is not only a best-in-class IP and game, it is also managed by a best-in-class team,” said Antokol, in a statement. “Andrew (Stalbow) and Petri (Jarvilehto) have built an incredible company that has both the long-term vision for its IP and a narrow focus on driving performance in its core games franchise.”
Antokol added,”This acquisition makes us one step closer to becoming the largest Western-facing mobile games company and I am eager for Andrew, Petri and the Seriously team to play an important role in getting us there.”
Market researcher Eilers Research and Krejcik Gaming reports that Playtika is the No. 1 player in the multibillion-dollar social casino game business. Seriously has 90 employees. Stalbow said July was the company’s biggest revenue month to date.
“We met with the team and we really liked the team and it felt like a super complimentary fit,” said Stalbow.