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Chinese web and mobile game developer Ourpalm has invested $2.3 million in Animoca Brands, the maker of mobile games such as one based on the Garfield cartoons. The deal shows there continues to be a lot of investment activity in mobile gaming, which market researcher Newzoo believes will reach $30 billion in 2015.
Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands (a spinout from Animoca) went public in January on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). The company raised $2.4 million from that earlier transaction. Under the deal, Ourpalm is investing $2.3 million (3.1 million Australian dollars) into Animoca Brands to obtain newly issued shares that give Ourpalm 11.11 percent of the company’s capital. The deal will help Animoca expand to the Chinese mobile game market.
Ourpalm paid 21 cents a share. The transaction comes after Animoca Brands struck a partnership to have Ourpalm distribute Animoca Brands’ Doraemon Gadget Rush game. Steven Hu, the co-CEO of Ourpalm, will become a member of Animoca Brands’ board. Ourpalm has the option to invest $5 million if the share price reaches 150 percent of the current price of its investment.
Animoca Brands is a spin-off of Animoca (Appionics Holdings Ltd.). Both companies make mobile games, but Animoca specializes in offerings for iOS and Google Play based on popular brand names in other media like television or comics.
For example, Animoca Brands licences 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 had been downloaded more than 40 million times as of January. 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 games. Its offerings cover nearly every genre, including adventure, time management, action, shoot-’em-up, role-playing, online games, and edutainment. Altogether, Animoca Brands’ 170 games more than 130 million downloads.
Ourpalm was founded in Beijing in 2004 as a government-licensed telecommunications and service provider, and it transformed itself into a mobile and social web game developer. In May 2012, Ourpalm went public on the Shenzhen Stock exchange. The company has more than 2,000 workers and has made more than 200 titles.
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