Savvy Games Group, wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced on Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire mobile games company Scopely for $4.9 billion.
According to the statement, Scopely, which was founded in 2011, will operate independently under the Savvy brand and that the transaction will “strengthen Savvy’s global position” and allow Scopely to grow more quickly.
The Los-Angeles based mobile games studio is known for several titles including Marvel Strike Force, Stumble Guys, Yahtzee With Buddies, Scrabble Go, and Looney Tunes World of Mayhem.
After securing a $340 million in 2020, Scopely had a $3.3 billion post-money valuation. The company’s valuation increased to $5.4 billion after buying GSN Games from Sony for $1 billion in 2021.
“Scopely is one of the fastest-growing games companies today, and we have long admired their ability to build loyal, engaged player communities. At Savvy Games Group, our mission is to invest in – and grow – the global games community by inviting the best minds to join us. Under Walter and Javier’s stewardship, Scopely has proven to be an exceptional leader and will continue to revolutionize the future of games for years to come. We look forward to further accelerating the company’s ambitions and working together with their talented team of developers, designers, and publishers to create innovative and exciting new products for the gaming community across the world,” said Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group, in a press release announcing the acquisition.
Co-CEOs Walter Driver and Javier Ferreira will remain in charge of Scopely. Brian Ward, the CEO of Savvy Games, has previously held positions at Activision Blizzard, Microsoft Games Studios, and Electronic Arts.
In an effort to establish the kingdom as a major gaming center, Savvy reportedly committed 142 billion riyals ($37.85 billion) in initiatives last year, according to the state news agency SPA. In February, Savvy invested $265 million in the Tencent-backed Chinese Esports company VSPO.
In addition to a global network of skilled gamemakers in North America, Europe, and Asia, the deal will add Scopely’s development capabilities, publishing infrastructure, and distinctive technologies to the Savvy ecosystem, the company said.
Scopely co-CEO Walter Driver, said, “Today’s announcement marks a major milestone in the Scopely journey. Savvy Games Group shares our long-held belief that the companies who have built the deepest relationships with their players will succeed. Together, as one, we will be able to further expand the possibilities of play, continuing to develop beloved game experiences for players around the world. This transformational partnership is a great validation of the incredible talent of our entire Scopely team and will further accelerate our efforts to drive the games industry forward.”
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, ranks as the sixth largest acquisition in the history of video games in terms of deal value. The biggest deal in this category is Microsoft’s ongoing deal to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Take-Two’s $12.7 billion acquisition of Zynga, completed in May 2022, ranked second, followed by Tencent’s Supercell acquisition for $8.6 billion, Microsoft buying ZeniMax for $8.1 billion, and Activision acquiring King for $5.9 billion.
J.P. Morgan acted as lead financial advisor to Savvy on this transaction. Bank of America and Aream also acted as financial advisors to Savvy, and Latham and Watkins acted as legal advisor. For Scopely, Goldman Sachs acted as financial adviser; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom acted as transaction counsel; and Goodwin Procter acted as corporate counsel.