Online and offline Australian casino pokies developer Aristocrat Leisure has just entered into a binding agreement to acquire Plarium, a social gaming company, for an upfront cash amount of $500 million, or €426 million. The company confirmed the deal, saying in the same statement that it should help them to expand its digital market considerably, developing it into adjacent gaming sectors and segments.
Plarium Company Specifics
Plarium was established in 2009, and has its headquarters in the city of Herzliya, Israel. It has always been privately owned and develops social, mobile and web-based games that are free to play. The company keeps its projects separate, with 5 genre-specific studios and multiple offices that employ over 1200 people. It is active in the United States, Israel and much of Europe.
Plarium has released some really successful products, including Vikings: War of Clans, Stormfall: Age of War (one of Facebook’s fastest-growing social games), Soldiers Inc. (which features licensed characters from Alien vs. Predator) and Throne: Kingdom of War. Some games are available as iOS and Android apps, some via web browsers and some exclusively on Facebook.
Terms of the New Acquisition Deal
Within the new agreement is also an earn-out arrangement, payable to Plarium’s shareholders at the end of 2017’s and 2018’s calendar years. These payouts will be based on the EBITDA of the previous 12 months at the end of each year, minus consideration amounts paid in prior periods.
Plarium’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Avraham Shalel, is set to stay on and continue leading the business once the acquisition is finalised. He and 12 other key Plarium management team members have also agreed to retention and deferred consideration agreements with Aristocrat until the end of 2020’s calendar year. These agreements include deferring a portion of their upfront consideration.
The transaction still needs to go through the required regulatory approvals, but it is expected to be finalised before the end of 2017. Aristocrat’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Trevor Croker, commented that acquiring Plarium would allow further expansion into the company’s digital social casino business, which he said had already shown significant growth.
Croker cited Aristocrat’s 2012 acquisition of Product Madness as compelling evidence of how financially and strategically beneficial the new deal would be, saying that it caused exceptional growth in Aristocrat’s digital division and that Product Madness has become one of the top 5 social casino game publisher since then. Plarium can accelerate all of this, he said, as they bring new mobile segments like RPG, casual and strategy platforms, to the table. Acquiring Plarium has increased Aristocrat’s pro forma Digital revenue contribution for the year ended 31 March 2017 to 22%, from 14%.