GamesBeat

Investors buy majority stake in online game maker Bigpoint for $350M

German online game publisher Bigpoint announced today that two major private equity firms have bought a majority stake in the company for $350 million. The transaction values Bigpoint at more than $600 million and shows that the free-to-play online game business is becoming a mature business alongside the console game publishers.

Bigpoint is at the forefront of free-to-play online games, where users play for free and pay real money for virtual goods such as better weapons in small transactions. The company has built up an audience of more than 190 million registered users in the past nine years and now has more than 700 employees. That makes it as big as many console-focused game companies, and second in valuation only to Playdom (which was sold to Disney for $760 million) and Zynga (raising a round at a purported $10 billion valuation) in online gaming.

Summit Partners
and TA Associates are purchasing the stake from Comcast Interactive Capital’s Peacock Equity Fund, which (under NBC Universal, now owned by Comcast) bought a 70 percent stake in 2008 for $110 million. Founder and chief executive Heiko Hubertz will retain his 30 percent share in Bigpoint, which is based in Hamburg, Germany, and is rapidly expanding in San Francisco and Brazil.

“We’ll have investors who can support our aggressive growth plans,” Hubertz said, as both companies will pour new capital into Bigpoint.

Hubertz said in an interview that the deal validates Bigpoint’s leadership within online games. In particular, Bigpoint focuses on browser-based online games such as the recently launched Battlestar Galactica game (pictured). Hubertz said he is holding on to his stake because he believes Bigpoint will be worth $1 billion one day as it becomes the “top online gaming company in the world.”

It has a ways to go before it gets there, but it has come a long way. Hubertz founded the company in 2002 in Hamburg. Among the company’s biggest titles are Seafight and Dark Orbit, which launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Those games are available in dozens of languages in 180 countries worldwide. Altogether, the company has 60 games available and 700 employees. Rivals include Gameforge, Jagex, InnoGames and Mail.ru Games. GMT Communications Partners and General Electric are selling the majority of their stakes.

John Meeks, managing director at TA Associates, said the scalable platform, diversified revenue, geographic diversification, and the attractive free-to-play model were big attractions for the investment. Scott Collins, managing director at Summit Partners, also pointed to the Bigpoint management team as an attraction. Both will join Bigpoint’s board.

Upcoming titles include The Mummy Online, RamaCity and Drakensang Online. Hubertz recently recruited Arthur Bastings as co-CEO of Bigpoint. Hubertz is heading the expansion in San Francisco while Bastings is heading operations in Germany.

Hubertz said Bigpoint has doubled revenue each year for the past eight years and has been profitable for some time.


Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.00.11 PMGamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] of the big transactions this year was the $350 million private equity investment in Germany’s Bigpoint, a maker of free-to-play online games with more than 190 million users. [...]

  2. [...] Une des grandes transactions de cette année était le 350 hundreds of thousands de dollars d’investissement de personal equity dans Bigpoint Allemagne, un fabricant de no cost-to-jouer en ligne avec plus de 190 hundreds of [...]

  3. [...] of the large exchange this year was the $350 million private equity investment in Germany’s Bigpoint, a builder of free-to-play online games with some-more than 190 million [...]

  4. [...] million (about $267 million) in revenue from the sale of virtual goods in its games this year. In April this year, two major private equity firms bought a majority stake in the company for $350 [...]

  5. [...] million (about $267 million) in revenue from the sale of virtual goods in its games this year. In April this year, two major private equity firms bought a majority stake in the company for $350 [...]

  6. [...] million (about $267 million) in revenue from the sale of virtual goods in its games this year. In April this year, two major private equity firms bought a majority stake in the company for $350 [...]

  7. [...] million (about $267 million) in revenue from the sale of virtual goods in its games this year. In April this year, two major private equity firms bought a majority stake in the company for $350 [...]

  8. [...] million (about $267 million) in revenue from the sale of virtual goods in its games this year. In April this year, two major private equity firms bought a majority stake in the company for $350 [...]

  9. [...] Private equity investors bought majority stake in Bigpoint for $350M. April 27. Summit Partners and TA Associates bought out the [...]

  10. [...] has more than 250 million registered users. Last year, investors Summit Partners and TA Associates bought a majority stake in Bigpoint for $350 million in a deal that valued Bigpoint at $600 million. Bigpoint has more than 800 employees [...]

  11. [...] has more than 250 million registered users. Last year, investors Summit Partners and TA Associates bought a majority stake in Bigpoint for $350 million in a deal that valued Bigpoint at $600 million. Bigpoint has more than 800 employees now. [...]

  12. [...] both Brazil and the U.S. There are some more details about the deal in the announcement and in this Venturebeat write-up. If you like this story, please share [...]

  13. [...] Congratulations to Heiko Hubertz, Simon Guild and the rest of the team at Bigpoint. They’ve just sold a majority stake in Bigpoint for $350 million. [...]

GamesBeat is your source for gaming news and reviews. But it's also home to the best articles from gamers, developers, and other folks outside of the traditional press. Register or log in to join our community of writers. You can even make a few bucks publishing stories here! Learn more.

You are now an esteemed member of the GamesBeat community. That means you can comment on stories or post your own to GB Unfiltered (look for the "New Post" link by mousing over your name in the red bar up top). But first, why don't you fill out your via your ?

About GamesBeat