International entertainment group MTG has signed an agreement to acquire 74 per cent of Turtle Entertainment, the world’s largest esports company that operates under the well-known ESL brand with revenues growing at 50 per cent per year. Esports is one of the largest and fastest growing online video entertainment categories; a key driver of the growth of the gaming industry; and set to attract a global audience of 260 million unique online viewers in 2015. ESL creates some of the most popular and high quality esports properties, and this content attracts large audiences of young players and fans with unparalleled engagement levels.
This investment is in line with MTG’s strategy to complement its linear and on-demand video entertainment services by investing in fast growing digital companies with relevant and scalable communities and content. It also reflects MTG’s long and successful track record of building TV and online audiences for leading international sports brands. Furthermore, MTG is already present in the esports market with its Viagame.com platform and has broadcast coverage of esports on its TV channels.
The 74 per cent stake is being acquired from financial investors and the company’s founders for €78 million in cash. The founders and management will retain the remaining 26 per cent and continue in their current positions. Closing of the transaction is subject to local regulatory approvals, and MTG will report approximately SEK 20 million of costs related to this transaction in its second quarter results.
ESL’s online leagues and tournaments, such as ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters, are among the biggest in the world, and have attracted more than 70 million unique online viewers over the past 12 months.