Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a deal to sell GSN Games, a division of Game Show Network, to mobile-games company Scopely for about $1 billion in cash and stock.
GSN Games’s portfolio of free-to-play mobile and online games includes “Solitaire TriPeaks,” “Bingo Bash” and “Wheel of Fortune Slots.” Scopely will pay half the $1 billion purchase price in cash and the remainder in preferred equity, which will give SPE with a minority interest in Scopely. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other usual closing conditions.
With the Sony Pictures-GSN Games deal, Scopely’s valuation has climbed to $5.4 billion, according to a source close to the games company. That’s up from a valuation of $3.3 billion after Scopely raised $340 million in Series E financing in October 2020.
GSN Games has about 400 employees globally, while L.A.-based Scopely currently has approximately 1,200 employees worldwide. GSN CEO Mark Feldman will continue to oversee the GSN Games business at Scopely upon close of the deal.
In 2007, Sony’s Game Show Network expanded into online games, creating and acquiring games to build its portfolio. GSN Games in 2014 acquired “Bingo Bash,” which launched in 2011, and has become one of its top title. Also in 2014, GSN Games launched “Solitaire TriPeaks.” To date, “Bingo Bash” has been played by more than 70 million people with players cumulatively spending more than 60,000 years in-game, while more than 100 million hands are played every week in “Solitaire TriPeaks,” according to GSN Games.
“In meeting the Scopely team, we knew we found the right organization to support and accelerate the business,” Ravi Ahuja, chairman, global television studios and corporate development at Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a statement. “We are confident they will take GSN Games to new heights and SPE is pleased to be a minority shareholder in Scopely as a result of this transaction.”
Tim O’Brien, chief revenue officer of Scopely, said the company hopes to accelerate the GSN Games business “through our publishing and technology infrastructure, unlocking even more value.”
“Through this acquisition, we will continue to cultivate a loyal player base as part of our mission to inspire play, every day,” O’Brien said in a statement. “The GSN Games business has proven itself as both incredibly durable and consistently profitable, due to the dynamic experiences the team continues to build for players around the world.”
Founded in 2011, Scopely has raised $990 million in funding to date. The company acquired the studio behind “Marvel Strike Force” in 2020 from Disney. Scopely’s top titles include “Star Trek Fleet Command,” created in partnership with Dublin-based DIGIT Game Studios (acquired in 2019).
Privately held Scopely says it tripled revenue from 2018 to 2020, having closed out last year with sales of more than $900 million. The company’s games portfolio, spanning casual and core games, includes “Scrabble Go,” “Marvel Strike Force,” “Star Trek Fleet Command,” “Looney Tunes World of Mayhem,” “WWE Champions,” “The Walking Dead: Road To Survival,” “Yahtzee With Buddies” and “Wheel of Fortune: Free Play.”