Savvy Games buys Scopely with an office in Ukraine for $4.9B. It’s the sixth largest deal in gamedev history

On April 5, 2023, Savvy Games, which is owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, announced its third purchase and the sixth largest deal in gamedev history. The company acquired the US Scopely with an office in Ukraine for $4.9 billion, its representatives told AIN.Capital.

  • Unlike many resource-rich countries, Saudi Arabia plans to reduce its economy’s dependence on oil. In particular, the country is set to become one of the largest gaming and esports hubs, investing $38 billion in it, and expects the industry to contribute 1% of GDP by 2030. And there are already the first investments.
  • There are only five deals in gamedev history that were worth more than this one:
    • $6 billion for King,
    • $8.1 billion for ZeniMax,
    • $8.6 billion for Supercell,
    • $12 billion for Zynga,
    • $68.7 billion for Activision Blizzard, which is still not closed. However, the agreement on Scopely has yet to be confirmed by the regulator.
  • The purchase of Scopely was preceded by two Savvy Games deals — the acquisition of eSports organization ESL Turtle Entertainment for $1 billion and esports platform FaceIT for $500 million.
  • Scopely, led by co-CEOs Walter Driver and Javier Ferreira, was founded in 2011 and had raised nearly $1 billion in investment prior to the deal. The company is best known for its mobile brands Wheel of FortuneThe Walking Dead: Road to SurvivalYahtzee and Star Trek: Fleet Command.
  • Scopely has made 8 acquisitions. The most interesting were the purchase of FoxNext Games from Disney in 2020 and GSN Games for about $1 billion from GSN (Game Show Network) in 2021. Half of the deal with GSN was paid for in Scopely stock, so the sale to the Saudis should have given GSN an additional benefit. GSN is an entertainment business owned by tech giant Sony. And thanks to GSN, Scopely has a Ukrainian office.
  • GSN’s Kyiv office was created on the basis of the Zaporizhzhia studio Idle Games, which was bought in the mid-2010s, and which even earlier bought its contractor, also the Zaporizhzhia outsourcing company Trafford. That is, Idle bought Trafford, GSN bought Idle, Scopely bought GSN, Savvy Games bought Scopely.
  • According to our information, Scopely’s Ukrainian office has up to 50 specialists. As the company claims, it will retain fully operational autonomy after the sale.