The deal is a major step for Take-Two, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto and other big console and PC titles, to move into free-to-play mobile games. Overall, mobile games are a $40.6 billion market, according to a report released today by SuperData Research and Unity Technologies.
The transaction includes $175 million in cash and $75 million in stock, plus an earn-out bonus of up to $25.9 million. The deal draws a nice focus on Spain’s mobile game industry. Spain has 480 game companies and 4,460 people working at them.
Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, Social Point is a successful free-to-play mobile game developer that focuses on delivering high-quality, engaging entertainment experiences. The company’s most successful games are Dragon City and Monster Legends.
Social Point is led by an experienced senior management team, including Horacio Martos and Andrés Bou, the co-CEOs, and Marc Canaleta, the chief technology officer and cofounder. It has over 270 employees.
The company currently has multiple profitable titles in the market. Its two most successful games, Dragon City and Monster Legends, have been downloaded more than 180 million times to date on iOS and Android. They have consistently been in the top-100 grossing mobile games in the U.S. since 2014.
Social Point’s games are currently available in North America, Latin America and Europe, and about half of its revenue comes from the U.S. In 2016, over 90 percent was generated from mobile platforms.
“With the acquisition of Social Point, Take-Two has further diversified its business, expanded its portfolio of owned intellectual property, and significantly enhanced its position in the fast-growing free-to-play mobile gaming space,” said Strauss Zelnick, the chairman and CEO of Take-Two in New York, in a statement. “The experienced team at Social Point shares our commitment to delighting consumers with high-quality entertainment, and we believe that Social Point’s deeply engaging mobile offerings will be a perfect complement to our business.”
He added, “Social Point is one of the few mobile game developers that has a proven track record of growing revenues and delivering multiple hits, and we expect this growth to continue given the company’s exciting development pipeline.”
Take-Two has been making mobile games for a while, but much of its focus in the past has been on selling premium-priced games on mobile. But that’s a fraction of the market compared to free-to-play, where you can play a game for free and purchase virtual items with real money. Social Point focuses on “mid-core” titles, or those with gamer-focused content that you can play in short time periods.
“Take-Two is one of the interactive entertainment industry’s premier publishers, whose labels are renowned throughout the world for their ability to create some of the most successful and beloved entertainment experiences on consoles and PC,” sad Martos and Bou, in a statement. “We are thrilled to have Social Point become part of an organization that shares our commitment to quality and innovation, and we look forward to being part of Take-Two’s continued success for many years to come.”
Take-Two said that the deal could meaningfully enhance recurring revenues. The deal is expected to be immediately accretive to net revenue and net cash and start producing net income in the coming fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.
Social Point has been consistently profitable since 2013 and has grown net revenue at a 29 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 through 2016. For the trailing 12 months ended December 31, 2016, Social Point generated net revenue of $90.8 million and earnings before income tax, depreciation, and amortization of $19.9 million.