Last month was one of the biggest periods for esports investments in the last two years. Not only did Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s near two-year merger finally get completed, but Astralis announced its LEC exit and FaZe Clan has new owners. Fascinatingly, these are just the headline stories of what has been a busy October 2023.
Here is a roundup of the most important esports investment stories from October 2023.
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After over a year since it was first announced, the merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard was finally completed on October 13th. Activision Blizzard officially declared in a filing that is now a subsidiary of Microsoft, ending the acquisition saga.
We’ve compiled a recap to guide you through both the significance of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and how the 19-month ordeal played out.
PUBG Mobile has unveiled a $100m (~£82.3m) creator investment plan that aims to reward the game’s players.
Dubbed the Wonder Creators Network, the investment looks to support the game’s co-creation ecosystem over the next three years. The money will be directed into competitions, opportunities and incentives in a major commitment by PUBG Mobile to its creators and the creations they make in the game. PUBG Mobile’s creator ecosystem focuses on the game’s Ptopia Design Project (PDP), an initiative that collaborates with artists to produce game content for players, and its recently launched World of Wonder (WOW) mode.
French esports organisation Karmine Corp will join the LEC, League of Legends’ franchised competition for EMEA, in 2024 after acquiring a stake in the slot owned by Danish esports organisation Astralis.
Karmine Corp has acquired the slot by purchasing 66.67% of a newly formed subsidiary AK-Game SAS for DKK 129 million (~£15m). As a result, Astralis will still own a minority stake in the League of Legends franchise slot.
North American esports and entertainment company GameSquare has agreed to acquire US gaming, lifestyle and esports organisation FaZe Clan in an all-stock transaction.
The transaction is expected to be closed in Q4 2023, with FaZe Clan founders returning to lead the brand in the future. Both GameSquare and FaZe Clan are publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
FaZe Clan went public in the July 2022 in a deal that attracted major media attention and mainstream headlines. Initially claiming a valuation of over a billion dollars, the company’s stock however went on to decline dramatically, reaching a low of around 18 US cents at the time of writing.
UK-based esports organisation Guild Esports has signed a subscription letter with an unnamed esports brand to subscribe for up to 200m new shares, raising up to £1m in the process.
The funds will be used for growth and expansion, notably in the MENA region. Guild did not share the name of the new investor and has noted that the shares will be divided into three segments. Interestingly, the identity of the company that is working with Guild Esports on this share subscription was not disclosed. According to Guild, it is an international esports, content creation, and media brand, but no other information is known at this time.
The esports department at Staffordshire University in England is set to undergo a substantial expansion, with £2.9m to be invested into its esports facilities.
The new facilities will feature an esports arena and a dedicated esports studio with broadcast galleries. The project is set to be completed by the Spring of 2024. Staffordshire University, located in Stoke-on-Trent, was the first university in the UK to launch a dedicated esports degree five years ago.
British esports organisation Into The Breach (ITB) announced it has acquired part-ownership in UK grassroots esports organisation The Goose House.
Financial terms and ITB’s exact ownership stake were not disclosed, but the organisation said it was now a co-owner alongside existing co-owners David ‘dave’ Taylor and ‘dËk’.
The acquisition follows a scandal that rocked The Goose House in late September, when many staff and streamers collectively left the organisation amid a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against former co-owner Dan ‘eLSD’ Ellis. Esports News UK reported that ITB bought Dan Ellis’ shares directly.