Sony acquires GSN with an office in Kyiv in a deal worth $380M
Sony, which owns a 58% stake of Game Show Network, bought the remaining 42% from AT&T for $380 million, as reported by WSJ. The deal makes Sony the sole owner of GSN.
Reason for the deal
In 2016, AT&T announced the acquisition of the American entertainment conglomerate Time Warner for $108.7 billion. And by the beginning of 2019, AT&T has accumulated a debt of $170 billion, half of which is associated with the acquisition of Time Warner. The company decided to sell non-core assets, regardless of their commercial effectiveness. For the same reason, Caesars Palace sold the largest social games developer Playtika for $4.4 billion to pay off the debts in the offline business.
Sony, apparently, had the right of first refusal (RFR) but did not offer AT&T the expected price for a 42% stake, so it was publicly put on the market. In January 2019, partners announced their intention to sell the entire company for a price range of $600 million – $700 million.
Based on the fact that the stake was eventually sold to Sony, there was no better buyer in the market. In addition, for Sony, it was too expensive to acquire the company for $600-$700 million, but now it has acquired the business for $905 million – GSN got more expensive for the year. Besides, on November 18, 2019, Sony hired former Angry Birds developer Wilhelm Taht as a new senior vice president and general manager for Bingo Bash. He will report to Mark Feldman, CEO of GSN.
Game Show Network is an American TV channel that is dedicated to entertainment programs and shows. For Sony, it is a strategic asset, given the popularity of GSN television projects such as America Says, The Chase, Common Knowledge, Catch 21, etc.
The company also has a fast-growing division of mobile and browser games development GSN Games. GSN Games’ portfolio includes Casino, Bingo Bash, Solitaire TriPeaks, and WorldWinner.
GSN in Ukraine
GSN’s Kyiv office is located at the premises of the acquired Zaporizhzhia-based studio Idle Games, which had previously acquired its contractor, Zaporizhzhia-based outsourcing company Trafford.
According to DOU, the Ukrainian office employs up to 80 people.