Counter-Strike: Global Offensive publication HLTV.org has been acquired by sports betting media group Better Collective.
The acquisition is said to have been for a total of €34.5 million (£29.7 million) on a cash and debt-free basis.
The acquisition not only includes HLTV.org, the leading publication for CS:GO esports in the industry, but Danish CS:GO community platform dust2.dk also. The main business model of both publications is “to promote and advertise esports betting operators,” according to a release.
Jesper Søgaard, CEO of Better Collective, commented on the acquisition in a release: “We have carefully analysed and monitored esport for a long time. It is a rapidly growing industry and we consider esports an ideal extension to our sports focused business. The nature of esports betting differs significantly from traditional sports betting and, therefore, it was essential to find the right partner, adding deep know-how and industry knowledge to Better Collective.
“I am confident that, through this acquisition, we have found the right people who operate some of the best-positioned esport brands in the world. We expect strong synergistic effects as many of the betting operators we collaborate with today also offer bets on esports, so I look forward to a prosperous esports future for Better Collective together with our new colleagues.”
Out of the total cost of the purchase, €26.4 million (£22.3 million) will be paid upfront, of which €23.7 million (£20.4 million) in cash and shares of Better Collective – which have an approximate market value of €2.7 million (£2.3 million) – will be issued prior to March 13th. The remaining figure has been structured as three separate payments that will be made over three years, based on HLTV.org reaching certain performance criteria.
Martin Rosenbæk, CEO of HLTV.org, also spoke on the development: “Joining the Better Collective group will support our ambition to remain the preferred CS:GO brand for esports enthusiasts across the world. Esports is an industry that is rapidly growing and evolving and, through constructive discussions with the Better Collective management, it became clear that they are the optimal partner for us to realize the full potential of our platforms.
“With more than 15 years of experience within sports betting, the Better Collective group has a deep understanding of sports communities and how to utilize technology to enhance the player experience. Combining this with the experience we have gathered from developing within the CS:GO community, we are strongly positioned to grow and build even stronger brands and experiences that will benefit the global network of CS:GO fans and our business.”
Esports Insider says: There’s no denying that HLTV.org has a strong hold on the CS:GO community, and it just so happens that CS:GO is one of the biggest games in esports. While some will debate the cost of such an acquisition, this is undeniably a big move for an esports-focused publication.