Two of my favorite mobile gaming companies are joining forces, as Netmarble acquires the Vancouver studio of Kabam, possibly for up to $800 million. What this means for Kabam is unknown, as Marvel: Contest of Champions, the studio’s biggest hit, it going along with the deal. Also included in the deal is Transformers: Forged to Fight, another upcoming character-based brawler, which will launch in Q2 2017.
95% of Kabam’s revenues are from the Vancouver studio, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kabam shut down the rest of the business and exit the mobile gaming space. 250 of Kabam’s 600 staffers will join Netmarble as part of the deal. According to Kent Wakefield, COO of Kabam, Netmarble is acquiring Kabam Inc, the entire company. The reasoning that shareholders will get the proceeds based upon their ownership. Then, as a subsidiary of Netmarble, Kabam will spin-off the parts of the company it doesn’t want. This new company will then find a bidder to acquire it. The separate company will not have any active games, but will have some in the pipeline, including a game based on Avatar, being developed by their L.A. Studio.
“The Vancouver studio is joining a premier organization that will continue its legacy of creativity and propel it to the next generation of game development,” said Kevin Chou, the CEO and co-founder of Kabam, in a statement. “We’re extremely proud of the work we accomplished with the Vancouver Studio, and we know the team will continue their world-class work with Netmarble. No doubt they will continue to create amazing games for a global audience.”
Contest of Champions has been downloaded more than 90 million times and has had revenues of over $450 million in the two years it’s been on the market.
“We are thrilled to acquire Kabam’s Vancouver studio, which has proven itself as one of the best in game development, and business competitiveness in the western market including the U.S.,” Seungwon Lee, Netmarble’s chief global officer, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to strengthening Netmarble’s business in the western market including the U.S. through this deal.”
Netmarble will also be acquiring Kabam’s Austin-based customer support team, as well as the San Francisco-based business development, marketing, and user acquisition team. Netmarble will now have more than 3,000 employees.
Netmarble itself is currently working on Star Wars: Force Arena, which is a game similar to Clash Royale meets League of Legends.