After a relatively positive June, a month that was dominated mostly by good news on the investment front, July saw the esports scene return to normalcy. The largest story was definitely the new developments in the Activision Blizzard and Microsoft saga, however, there were also announcements from the likes of Astralis, Sentinels and Veloce.
Here is a roundup of the most important esports investment stories from July 2023.
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A US district court in San Francisco, California has denied the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard.
The FTC had requested a preliminary injunction and restraining order on June 12th to stop the deal going through, but a judge has now found the FTC was not likely to succeed with its claim that competition would be substantially lessened if the deal was to go through.
The pending $69bn (~£51bn) merger, the largest in gaming history, had a termination date of July 18th. However, on July 19th, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard announced they had extended the original July 18th deadline until October 18th, to give them more time to reach an agreement with the UK’s CMA.
Portuguese professional footballer Diogo Jota has invested in the multinational esports organisation Galaxy Racer. As a result, Jota’s own esports organisation, Diogo Jota Esports, will be rebranded to Luna Galaxy and fall under the Galaxy Racer umbrella.
The Liverpool footballer becomes a shareholder of Galaxy Racer and will play a role in deciding the organisation’s esports strategy, which has recently expanded into hosting a range of tournaments across multiple titles.
Esports and gaming creative marketing agency Hurrah.agency has ceased operations, eight years after its launch.
The agency’s holding structure, Hurrah.group, will cease activities later this year. However, its media buying arm hurrah.media and production company Hurrah.studio will continue to operate going forward.
The news was announced by Hurrah.group’s Global CEO Mathieu Lacrouts via a LinkedIn statement. In the post, Lacrouts highlighted cash-related issues as the reason the agency has closed its doors.
Media and racing company Veloce Media Group has announced a funding round led by GEM Digital Limited, totalling $50m (~£39m).
The investment will be done through a structured token subscription agreement meaning that GEM will invest up to $50m into Veloce’s token, VEXT. The investment will be used to scale and grow the company. Based in London, Veloce Media Group is the owner of gaming and racing platform Veloce Esports as well as racing team Veloce Racing, which competes in the Extreme E electric off-road racing series.
Esports event production and infrastructure company eFuse has spun off its three main business arms into separate products.
eFuse will continue to operate as a holding entity, while the company’s assets will be separated into erena, esports.gg and sidekick.
eFuse is perhaps best-known as the operator of esports broadcasts including College COD (CCL), the College Carball Association (CCA), as well as the collegiate Fortnite league on behalf of publisher Epic Games. The company also owns esports media outlet Esports.gg, as well as sidekick, a media buying platform for creator channels.
Gamercraft, an AI-driven gaming tournament platform, has raised $5m (~£3.86m) in its latest funding round.
The company plans to use the capital to expand its capabilities by introducing new games and genres onto the platform in 2024. Founded in 2020, Gamercraft hosts gaming tournaments for players on League of Legends, VALORANT and Dota 2. Players compete for monetary rewards and are supported by services that aim to improve player performance.
Shareholders of European esports organisation Astralis will vote on August 8th for a proposed delisting from the NASDAQ First North Growth Market Denmark.
According to a company announcement Astralis’ executive management, Board of Directors, and major shareholder Jakob Lund Kristensen have confirmed their intention to vote in favour of the decision.
North American esports organisation Sentinels could be about to launch a fundraising campaign in partnership with equity fundraising platform StartEngine, with the company looking to sell up to 4%.
Fans who buy in currently on Sentinels’ investor website will not be able to use the platform to see how many other investors have bought in, how much capital Sentinel has raised, or compare the round directly with alternatives. Sentinals has valued the organisation at $30.09m (~£23.7m.)
‘Reserving’ shares through this system, even by paying money, is also regulated differently to formally buying them. Sentinels is not legally compelled to go through with the fundraising process unless it agrees to it and receives approval from the SEC.