A Dundee games studio has been bought by Swedish digital entertainment company Modern Times Group (MTG) in a deal worth up to £135 million.
Ninja Kiwi’s Scottish studio, run by Abertay graduates David Hamilton and Barry Petrie, is part of the deal for acquisition of the New Zealand-based games company.
Ninja Kiwi bought David and Barry’s original company, Digital Goldfish, in 2012 for an undisclosed sum.
The latest deal is worth £103,314,820 (NZD 203 million) up front and earn-out payments at an expected value of £34,624,915 (NZD 68 million) over the next three years.
David said the buyout will allow Ninja Kiwi to work alongside other games developers in MTG‘s portfolio, pooling skills and ideas.
He said: “We are now in a consortium of developers where we can all learn from each other.
“MTG are big in esports and gaming. and in the portfolio just now there are three other games developers. One of those was an acquisition in December of a Dundee firm called Hutch Games.
“We now have access to the guys at InnoGames, Hutch and Kongregate and we’ll all be able to help each other out going forward.”
Push for esports arena in Dundee
He added that MTG’s interest in esports would strengthen the case for bringing an esports arena to Dundee.
“It’s a great success story that’s going to put world-wide attention on to Dundee,” he said.
“MTG is very focused on esports and with talks of an arena opening up in Dundee so this can only strengthen the push for that.
“Being able to work with MTG and the others in the portfolio means our games are only going to get bigger and better, which will hopefully allow us to expand going forward.”
Ninja Kiwi today has over 70 employees working for the company from the headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand and their offices in Dundee.
New game announced
The firm developed and launched one of the first commercially successful tower defence games in 2007, when they launched the first Bloons TD game.
Tower defence is a genre within strategy and puzzle games, in which players eliminate waves of enemies by building defence towers. Arcade game classic Space Invaders is a precursor of the format.
Ninja Kiwi’s co-founders, Chief Executive Officer Chris Harris and Chief Creative Officer Stephen Harris, added: “We are genuinely excited to join MTG. We have developed our relationship over a number of years and have often discussed the opportunities of working together.
“By joining MTG we will gain access not just to resources to further develop our existing games and launch new ones, but also to the wealth of skills and know-how across the companies within MTG’s GamingCo that will allow us to deliver even better games to our longstanding community.
“We’re particularly excited about the timely opportunity to work with ESL Gaming as we are pleased to officially announce that Bloons TD Battles 2 will launch later this year.”
Quality games attract players
MTG’s Group President and CEO Maria Redin said: “Ninja Kiwi has popularised the entire genre of tower defence games, and continues to pioneer it.
“Its evergreen Bloons IP and gaming platform has introduced millions to the tower defence genre, combining puzzle and strategy elements in games developed mainly for mobile platforms.
”The strong organic traffic to Ninja Kiwi’s portfolio of games is hugely impressive, as is the company’s successful combination of paid and in-app purchase models in its pricing structure – both are testament to the quality of the titles that Ninja Kiwi has created.
“We’re very pleased that Ninja Kiwi is joining MTG and our growing gaming vertical, further broadening our offering through the introduction of a new genre.”