GE/NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fund and GMT Communications Partners agree to Trade Sale of Bigpoint
NEW YORK, June 9, 2008
The Peacock Equity Fund, the joint venture between GE Commercial Finance’s Media, Communications & Entertainment business, and NBC Universal, together with GMT Communications Partners (“GMT”), the leading European independent private equity group focused exclusively on the communications sector, today announced a definitive agreement for the majority buyout of Bigpoint, the pioneer and market-leader in browser-based multiplayer online games. Peacock Equity, GMT, and existing Bigpoint management will be Bigpoint’s new stakeholders. The deal, which is valued at €70M, is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close within two months.
Bigpoint, the premier brand in European online multi-player games, develops and hosts browser-based games with over 23 million registered users. Bigpoint’s portfolio includes over 20 free multiplayer games that can be accessed anytime, anywhere with up to 130,000 users playing concurrently with no need to download a client application. Based in Hamburg, Germany, the company has over 150 employees. The company generates revenues through in-game virtual item purchases and advertising sales.
To continue Bigpoint’s rapid growth and expand its footprint in North America, NBC Universal will partner with Bigpoint to power a series of browser-based game titles to be featured on its SCI FI and USA Network Web sites. NBC Universal and GMT will further support the development of new games, distribution platforms and marketing initiatives to help strengthen and extend Bigpoint’s leading global position in Europe, North America and Asia. “
The gaming space is a key strategic focus area for Peacock Equity,” said Tom Byrne, managing director and group head, Peacock Equity. “We believe the growth characteristics of the space, when coupled with what NBCU and GMT can do for Bigpoint’s continued development, make this a very attractive investment opportunity.”
“We identified online multiplayer games as a highly attractive sector for investment and Bigpoint stands out as by far the best company in this space with a top-class management team. With the backing of both GMT and Peacock Equity, Bigpoint is strongly positioned to extend its leadership in the global online gaming market,” said Tim Green, Managing Partner, GMT. “As the only sector-focused telecommunications fund in Europe, GMT’s deep industry knowledge gives us keen insight into Bigpoint’s tremendous potential and we look forward to supporting its continued expansion worldwide.”
“This is an exciting time for everyone at Bigpoint,” commented Heiko Hubertz, founder and CEO, Bigpoint. “With GMT and Peacock Equity’s support we are extremely well situated to build on our current position as a world-leading online browser-based games publisher. Due to the recent influx of people joining online communities like Bigpoint our sector has experienced enormous growth over the past five years. With both GMT and Peacock Equity’s backing we feel we are in a very strong position to capitalize on this growth.”
The selling stakeholders in the transaction are Aurelia Private Equity, European Founders Fund and United Internet Beteiligungen.
Current and previous Peacock Equity investments include Adify, Healthline, IGA Worldwide, 4INFO, Trion World Network and Loomia. Current and previous GMT investments include Asiakastieto, Melita Cable, Primesight, Orion Publishing and Invitel.
Corporate Finance Partners acted as an exclusive adviser to the selling shareholders of BigPoint in this transaction.