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More than $500 million raised, Schalke 04 Esports exits LEC and GameSquare Esports acquires Complexity Gaming – The Esports Observer

During June 2021, The Esports Observer tracked 11 investments raised by esports-relevant companies. Disclosed investments amounted to $512.5 million USD, bringing the total sum of disclosed investments in 2021 to $3.5 billion. In addition to the realized investments listed in the article, South Korean game developer holding Krafton – the parent of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer PUBG Corp – filed for a potential $5 billion initial public offering on the Korea Exchange, which is expected to be completed in mid-July. 

Financial terms were not disclosed for all deals highlighted in this article. 

Schalke 04 sells LEC slot 

Image Credit: Riot Games

German soccer club Schalke 04 sold its slot in the franchised League of Legends European Championship (LEC), which it owned through its subsidiary Schalke 04 Esports, to Swiss esports organization Team BDS for €26.5 million EUR ($32.6 million). The league’s operator, Riot Games accepted the sale. 

Schalke 04’s decision to sell its most valuable esports asset was heavily influenced by the financial challenges its core soccer business is facing due to the economic damages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the club’s relegation from the first German soccer league. 

The Schalke 04 brand will remain a part of the LEC until the end of the 2021 season, with Team BDS debuting in Spring 2022. 

GameSquare Esports acquires Complexity Gaming 

Credit: Complexity

Canadian Securities Exchange-listed GameSquare Esports – which owns Code Red Esports, Gaming Community Network, and minority ownership stakes in League of Legends team Rainbow7 and Crossfire team LGD.REC –acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Frisco, Texas-based Complexity Gaming’s business entity NextGen Tech from its former owners the Jerry Jones Family, Goff Capital, and Jason Lake. 

The acquisition was an all-stock transaction as part of which the former Complexity Gaming owners received approximately 83.3 million common shares of GameSquare (representing 47% of GameSquare’s outstanding sahares), valuing Complexity Gaming at roughly $33 million CAD ($26.7 million). 

Following the acquisition, Jason Lake continues as CEO of Complexity and was appointed as GameSquare’s global head of esports. Moreover, Jerry Jones Family-owned Dallas Cowboys’ CEO Thomas Walker and Goff capital President Travis Goff join the board of GameSquare. 

Furthermore, GameSquare raised an additional $13.7 million. Half of the sum comes from the Jerry Jones Family and Goff Capital, while the other half comes from a syndicate of underwriters led by Canaccord Genuity. 

Acquisitions 

Credit: Freaks 4U Gaming

German esports and gaming marketing agency Freaks 4U Gaming acquired ProGaming Italia, an esports and gaming event organizer in Italy and Switzerland, from Game.Fin. As part of the acquisition, Freaks 4U Gaming acquired all shares of ProGaming Italia held by majority shareholder Game.Fin, the holding company owned by Schmidhofer. In return, Game.Fin has acquired shares of Freaks 4U Gaming and is now a minority shareholder. Freaks 4U did not disclose whether Game.Fin received any additional compensation. Schmidhofer will continue to lead ProGaming Italia as CEO, while also assuming a vice president position as part of the Freaks 4U Gaming leadership team. 

NYSE-listed information technology company HP completed its acquisition of gaming peripherals brand HyperX. The company paid HyperX’s previous parent company Kingston Technology an acquisition compensation of $425 million. HP, which has built its own gaming brand – OMEN by HP – in recent years, stated that the HyperX acquisition “supports its strategy to drive growth in its personal systems business, where gaming and peripherals are attractive segments.” 

 OneTeam Partners – a sports-focused commercial licensing rights agency – acquired L.A.-based esports consulting agency Theorycraft, further building out the team that will run its gaming and esports vertical.  

 Wichita, Kansas-based esports tournament operator and events company Unified acquired North American amateur League of Legends competition platform Challengers Uprising. Following the acquisition, Challengers Uprising’s leadership team joined the team at Unified to continue helping to develop North American League of Legends talents. 

 Seed Financing Rounds 

Credit: Loco

Danish educational esports platform GamerzClass raised a $2.5 million seed financing round to scale its team from 15 to 20 and finance content production. The investment was led by a group of angel investors, including Copenhagen-based ByFounders, former Index Ventures general partner Ben Holmes, and GameAnalytics founder Morten Wulf. Further investors that participated in the round include existing investors Bumble Ventures and TrueSight Ventures. 

Mumbai-based gaming live streaming platform startup Loco Interactive raised a $9 million seed financing round led by South Korean game developer holding company Krafton to upgrade its technology and content. Further investors that participated in the round include Indian gaming media fund Lumikai, Hiro Capital, 3one4 Capital, and Axilor Ventures. 

Other Investments 

Credit: Envy

Chinese esports solutions provider VSPN (Versus Programming Network) secured a multi-million dollar Series B2 funding round, led by Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA). The funding will be utilized for the expansion of VSPN’s global business and the development of the esports content matrix around VSPN+. Leading up to its B2 investment round, VSPN raised close to $100 million in its Series B financing round led by Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings before raising an additional $60 million Series B+ funding round led by Prospect Avenue Capital. 

French esports venture capital fund TRUST ESPORT invested €2.5 million EUR ($3.03 million) in esports tournament management software developer TOORNAMENT to financially support the company’s transition to becoming a B2B SaaS provider. While the Toornament platform has been established in 2015, the investment was made into the newly created TOORNAMENT SAS, which was created with the IP provided by French media and technology company Webedia Group. 

Dallas, Texas-headquartered Envy Gaming made an undisclosed investment in Mason Bridge-backed streaming tool developer Botisimo. As part of the investment, Envy Gaming CEO Adam Rymer joined Botisimo as a board member. Furthermore, Envy will use Botisimo’s technology for its esports players, streamers, and content creators. 

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The Esports Observer is the world’s leading source for essential esports business news and insights. As the esports business authority of the western world, TEO enables companies to make informed decisions for their business. We offer a comprehensive industry database covering entities from personalities to companies and games, real-time business intelligence, and insight reports. Through TEO’s business conferences and events, we connect industries and individuals alike. Our ultimate goal is to increase transparency and foster growth in the industry we love: esports.

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