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MTG moves into online gaming

Modern Times Group has moved into online gaming by buying a 35% stake in German online games developer and publisher, InnoGames.

Jorgen Madsen LindemannThe deal, which values InnoGames at €260 million (US$287 million), will see MTG take the stake from Eight Roads Ventures, and the company’s founders with the option to buy a further 16% at the same price.

MTG said the move is in line with its strategy to invest in “relevant, complementary and scalable digital content and communities”.

The investment also adds gaming as a third vertical to MTG’s digital division MTGx – alongside eSports businesses ESL and DreamHack, and MTG’s multichannel network investments in Zoomin.TV and Splay.

“We are focused on digital verticals with global potential, and gaming is a truly global industry,” said MTG president and CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann.

“InnoGames is the right partner due to its established position in the industry, fast growing mobile user base, and exciting pipeline of new releases. We are now present in three complementary digital video storytelling verticals, and we will invest to expand this presence further.”

InnoGames was founded in Hamburg in 2007 and makes free-to-play online strategy and role-playing games that are monetised through in-game purchases.

Its titles include Elvenar, Tribal Wars I & II, Grepolis, The West and Forge of Empires, which between them have more than 150 million registered players.

The company runs three studios in Hamburg and one in Dusseldorf and employs 400 people. Its biggest market by revenues is the US, followed by Germany and France and the company expects to make revenues of approximately €125 million in 2016.

“We have scored major success with our live games and are now focusing on the development of several new mobile first titles, while maintaining our high quality operation of all live games,” said InnoGames CEO, Hendrik Klindworth.

“MTG’s international presence, understanding of storytelling entertainment, and commitment to IP development and building engaged user communities will bring our games to even larger audiences around the world.”

MTGx CEO Arnd Benninghoff added: “Gaming is a clear and consistent thread that connects our digital focus and business portfolio. We already have the distribution platforms and windows through our digital businesses, and we are now adding even more relevant content.”