According to Esports Insider’s calculations, around $4.06bn (~£2.9bn) of disclosed investment relating to esports was committed in March 2021. The majority of that money — an estimated $4bn — was used by Nuverse to acquire Moonton, the game developer behind Mobile Legends: Bang Bang — one of the hottest esports titles in the world.
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ByteDance acquires Moonton for around $4bn
Chinese technology company and TikTok owner ByteDance has acquired Mobile Legends: Bang Bang developer and publisher Moonton.
The acquisition, which is believed to be valued to be around $4bn, has been made through ByteDance’s video games unit Nuverse, according to Reuters. It was also reported that Tencent had made a bid for the publisher which was subsequently matched by ByteDance.
Esports investment report, March 2021
Rivalry announces $20m funding round
Toronto-based esports betting platform Rivalry has announced the completion of a $20m funding round to scale its operations and country licensing programme.
According to the release, the funding round comprised institutional investors from Canada, the United States, the European Union, and an unnamed ‘major gaming operator’. Additionally, Rivalry has announced its intention to go public. An initial public offering (IPO) is expected later this year.
Maestro raises $15m in Series B funding round
Maestro, the interactive live-streaming platform for content creators, has raised $15m (~£10.76m) in its Series B funding round.
The round featured funding from existing investors, such as SeventySix Capital, The Strand Partners, Stadia Ventures, Hersh Interactive Group and Transcend Fund, as well as from newcomers, including NetEase, Sony Music Entertainment and Acronym Venture Capital.
Organization.GG secures $610,000 in pre-seed funding
Esports platform Organization.GG has raised $610,000 (~£440,813) in pre-seed funding, with tournament organiser WePlay Esports, QPDigital, and Silicon Valley investors participating in the round.
According to Organization.GG’s CEO and Co-founder Dima Okhrimchuk, the funding will be used to develop the platform’s product and help expand into the North American market by the end of 2021.
NODWIN Gaming receives £16m KRAFTON investment
South Korean video game holding company KRAFTON has invested 164 Crore INR (~£16.18m) into Indian esports solutions company NODWIN Gaming.
According to the press release, the minority investment by KRAFTON is expected to help accelerate NODWIN’s development in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Other notable esports investments in March 2021
The following stories were shared in March without disclosure of financial terms, or are unconfirmed investments (such as the potential Allied Esports agreement). Therefore, any funds derived from these transactions were not included in our estimated totals.
Oddin receives funding from strategic investor group
Esports odds feed and risk management provider Oddin has received funding from a strategic investor group.
The investment was led by Alex Igelman, founder of Esports Capital Corp. and media technology investor Jeff Sagansky.
ReKTGlobal acquires TalentX Entertainment and forms ReKTX
Esports infrastructure company ReKTGlobal has acquired TalentX Entertainment and subsequently has formed new talent-management company ReKTX.
Financial terms have not been disclosed. However, the acquisition is described by the firm as solidifying ReKTGlobal as the leader of the creator economy.
Nations Ventures invests in sports marketplace Obsesh
Nations Ventures, a venture capital fund majority-owned by We Are Nations, has made a ‘strategic investment’ in real-time platform and sports marketplace Obsesh.
According to the release, Nations Ventures’s investment is expected to go towards product development, the marketplace’s launch, and athlete acquisitions. The venture capital fund has revealed that the agreement is a cash investment.
GameCo announces funding round and esports betting expansion
Las Vegas-based gambling company GameCo has announced a financing round intended to accelerate the expansion of its business, including in esports betting.
The funding round, led by gaming technology companies Playtech and SpringOwl Asset Management, will fuel the design and provision of gaming products to drive new players and demographics to casino environments.
VSPN acquires Chinese live-stream talent agency Famulei
Esports solutions provider Versus Programming Network (VSPN) has announced the acquisition of Chinese live-stream talent agency Famulei.
According to a release, the company will operate as an independent brand under VSPN.
Allied Esports receives $100m purchase offer from Bally’s Corporation
Esports entertainment company Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc. announced that it has received an unsolicited acquisition offer from casino owners Bally’s Corporation.
Bally’s offered to purchase all outstanding equity interests in the Allied Esports parent company for a total consideration of $100m (~£72.3m). Should Allied accept, the company would be required to cancel its previously announced sale of the World Poker Tour to investment group Element Partners.
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