With Roblox’s blockbuster IPO in March, 2021 will see a record high value of M&A transactions and IPOs in the gaming & e-sports space. Here are the top-line bullets you need to know.
The gaming industry — benefiting from social distancing measures and pandemic-related restrictions — saw revenue grow by 12% in 2020, according to SuperData.
The market’s growth has led to soaring M&A and IPO transaction value both in 2020 and during the first months of 2021, with a record number of $1B+ exits.
What you need to know:
- Deal-making in the gaming & e-sports space has already hit a record high value this year: Total global gaming & e-sports M&A and IPO exit value has reached $63.7B across 50 deals as of 2021 YTD (4/8/2021), up from $48.6B across 135 deals in 2020.
- IPO > M&A: Although only 9% of all exits since 2017 were IPOs, they generated just over 60% of all exit value over the same period. Metaverse creator Roblox’s $41.9B IPO in March this year is the largest exit over the 2017-2021 YTD period, followed by game development platform Unity’s $13.7B IPO in September 2020. The largest M&A transaction since 2017 is Microsoft’s $7.5B acquisition of game publisher ZeniMax Media announced in September 2020.
- All eyes on livestreaming: Livestreaming platforms are gaining investor interest as use cases expand beyond the gaming world. Tencent became the majority owner of China-based Huya in April 2020 and has been pursuing a merger between Huya and DouYu, another livestreaming leader in China in which it has invested, since October last year. In the US, mobile e-sports platform Skillz went public through a SPAC merger at the end of 2020 and has signed a multi-year partnership with the National Football League (NFL) to hold game developer challenges. Read more about the future of livestreaming here.
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