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Eurazeo Completes Sale of Asmodee to PAI Partners; Asmodee to Acquire ADC Blackfire Entertainment

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
Two bits of news have emerged about the industry's largest hobby game publisher ahead of the SPIEL '18 game fair in Essen, Germany.

First, in July 2018 I had noted that Eurazeo, the private equity firm based in Paris that owns game publisher Asmodee, had entered "exclusive discussions" with PAI Partners, another Paris-based private equity house. On October 23, 2018, Eurazeo announced (PDF) that it had completed the sale of its stake in Asmodee to PAI Partners. A translation of the press release:

This operation is a perfect illustration of the profound transformation carried out in recent years by Stéphane Carville and his team with the support of Eurazeo. Asmodee has seen in four years its turnover increase from €125 million to €442 million, 75% of which is international, an annual growth rate average of 37%. At the same time, its share of publishing has reached about 2/3 of game sales. The group has also completed twenty acquisitions, representing more than 140 million sales. Proceeds from the sale of this transaction amounted to €565 million for Eurazeo and its investors, including €426 million for the Eurazeo share, a multiple of almost 4x its initial investment and an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of about 35%.
From gallery of W Eric Martin
Second, Asmodee has entered exclusive discussions to acquire ADC Blackfire Entertainment, which has worked with Asmodee for many years. Here's the press release announcing this development:

Founded in 1999, Blackfire is present in 3 markets and distributes collectible card games, toys, boardgames and pop culture products.

The synergy between Asmodee's catalogue and Blackfire's operations in Czech Republic and Romania creates a great opportunity to improve the supply of games, from the Asmodee Group studios and from all Asmodee partners, directly into these markets.

The acquisition of the newly developed, high-quality operations of Blackfire Germany will allow Asmodee to offer an even better service to vendors and customers in Germany and all over Europe.

"We are delighted to welcome Blackfire to the Asmodee Group. We have been working with them as partners for many years. We have always shared the same passion to provide our audiences with great games and entertainment experiences. Today the combination of Asmodee's and Blackfire's highly seasoned and professional teams will enable us to strengthen our operations and presence in Europe. Our key objective is to continuously offer the best products and services to our communities, consumers and retail partners", said Stéphane Carville CEO of Asmodee Group.

"We have been successfully building Blackfire for almost 20 years and a good part of this path has been with Asmodee as a great partner. We are now happy to announce the next step in our relationship, a merger which I have no doubt saying will create an awesome synergy of experience, brands and products. Our ultimate goal and vision to deliver the best entertainment to kids, families and fans of games is going to be much easier to fulfill. We are looking forward to write the next great chapter of our story", said Martin Polak, CEO of
Blackfire Czech Republic.

"Over the years both companies have become key players in their segments of the games industry — and now we are taking the next step forward to grow best in class, combining a comprehensive assortment of distributed titles and owned intellectual properties with state-of-the-art logistics and customer service. I am sure this will create game-changing synergies from which customers will benefit greatly", said Alexander Dubynski, CEO of Blackfire Germany.

"I am thrilled that over just a couple of years Blackfire Romania, our youngest branch, has become one of the biggest distributors of toys and games in Romania and the preferred partner for major manufacturers and licensors. This merger will yield great synergies and benefits in the years ahead", said Loredana Orzață (Dobraniș), CEO of Blackfire Romania.
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