More activity in the social and casual gaming space, following on from the $200 million acquisition of OMGPOP by Zynga. The UK-based games company Zattikka has started trading on the public markets and says it has raised £12.6 million ($20 million) after its placing with institutional and other investors on London’s AIM exchange.
Zattikka — which develops freemium games for PC web browsers, social networks, mobile devices (including smartphones and tablets), connected consoles, and other emerging platforms including IP TVs and set top boxes — says that it will be using the funds to make acquisitions, starting with three smaller social games developers: Hattrick Holdings, Sneaky Games, Inc. and Concept Art House, Inc. That is a sign not just of more transactions in social/casual games but also of increasing consolidation of smaller, independent studios as the market continues to mature.
The listing today gives Zattikka a market capitalization of £22 million ($35m), it says. That’s has a long way to go before it competes in size against Zynga, or two other European social games companies that also compete in this space — Wooga, which has raised $32 million in funding, and King.com, which today announced that it had overtaken Electronic Arts in popularity on Facebook, with 10 million people playing its games daily on the social networking site. Zynga currently has 65 million daily active users of its games.
The activity at Zattikka follows on from a $5.5 million round raised by the company back in 2010 from a group of investors led by Notion Capital. The company also counted Atomico, the VC firm started by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, as an early investor.
Up to now, Zattikka has focused on developing browser and mobile-based casual and social games largely based around licensing deals with other brands. These have included Monty Python and Mr. Bean.
But like many other games developers, it also has its SNAP analytics platform, which it offers both for its own games and could be used to distribute games for third-party developers.
It plans to use that platform now to bring more games to market, as part of its “buy and build strategy… seeking to acquire existing profitable, but under-exploited, IP game assets and businesses with proven skill sets in monetising social and mobile games which the directors believe are complementary to the company.” That will involve further acquisitions, too, it says. It focuses its attention on three main regions: Europe, the U.S. and China.
The three new companies that Zattikka has now bought will greatly expand the inventory of content that it delivers through that SNAP platform.
Hattrick, a company with its development origins in Sweden, had its start with a popular online football manager game; it also has a similar game aimed at wannabe Simon Cowells called Popmundo. Both focus on real-time, multiplayer game formats and currently have a combined player audience of 860,000 — a number Zattikka says it wants to increase ‘significantly.’
Concept Art House, meanwhile, is a buy that gives Zattikka some assets focused on China and Facebook. FB games in their art design portfolio include Nightclub City and Kingdoms of Camelot, and the company is headquartered in both San Francisco and Shanghai and bills itself as much as an “art and design company”. It has been profitable since 2010.
Sneaky Games, meanwhile, is a bit of an outlier buy. The company, based in Austin, Texas, has only between 4,000 and 20,000 daily active users of its fantasy role-playing games with names like Vampire Legacy and Syfy Monster Island (commissioned by NBC Universal’s Syfy channel). Again Zattikka is confident it can take those numbers much higher.
Zattikka says that its shares were priced at 100 pence each, with Canaccord Genuity Limited acting as the its adviser, broker and sole book-runner on the placing.
“We are delighted to list on AIM to provide the capital base and incentivise the entrepreneurs joining our group. We begin with a strong group of companies with operations in key gaming centres in the USA, China and Europe, a mix of revenues across subscriptions, virtual goods and work for hire with an exceptional team of talent. We have a great opportunity before us to accelerate the growth of this initial group across multi-platforms to create a world class games entertainment group,” co-founder and CEO Mark Opzoomer said in a statement. Other co-founders are Harald Ludwig (now its chairman) and Tim Chaney (now president). Chaney and Opzoomer both came from Virgin Games prior to founding the company in 2010.