Animoca Brands, the maker of mobile games such as one based on the Garfield cartoons, has gone public on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). The company raised $2.4 million from the transaction.
The deal was supposed to happen a couple of weeks ago, but the filing took longer than expected. The transaction shows that brands are becoming more popular in mobile titles, but it also shows that it isn’t easy to raise money for mobile-game companies. Animoca Brands had to go public through an unusual transaction, rather than simply raise money from private venture capitalists.
The deal is a reverse merger, as Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands took over the listing for Black Fire Minerals and changed its stock symbol to AB1. Under such deals, Black Fire Minerals, a listed company under the symbol BFE, takes over the assets of Animoca Brands and then changes its name and symbol. Trading has now begun on the Australian market.
Animoca Brands is a spin-off of Animoca (Appionics Holdings Ltd.). Both companies make mobile games, but Animoca Brands specializes in offerings for iOS and Google Play based on brand names that have been popularized in other media like television or comics.
For example, Animoca Brands licences from Paws the rights to the character Garfield and all supporting characters from Jim Davis’ iconic comic strip. The Garfield releases developed by Animoca Brands under this license have been downloaded more than 40 million times. The company has also made apps based on the Doraemon, Ben 10, Astro Boy, and Ultraman brand names.
Animoca Brands is also working on its own original titles. Its offerings cover nearly every genre, including adventure, time management, action, shoot-em-up, role-playing, online games, edutainment, and more. Altogether, Animoca Brands’ 170 games have been downloaded more than 160 million times.
“We’re so pleased to be joining the ASX, and we look forward to introducing our business and our sector to the Australian investor community,” said incoming Animoca Brands CEO Robby Yung, in a statement. “As one of the first mobile app developers listed in Australia, we believe our global footprint, our portfolio approach with its diversification of risk, and the robust growth of our sector will resonate with investors.”
David Kim, the CEO of Animoca and director and chairman of Animoca Brands, said in a statement, “With a strong track record and ability to leverage lucrative market opportunities, Animoca Brands is an attractive investment vehicle for Australian investors. Countries in Asia have more mobile users than the rest of the world combined and are expected to show strong growth in mobile revenues. Taking advantage of this growth by listing on a public exchange is a logical and forward-looking step for us.”