Caixin
Jan 11, 2023 03:55 PM
BUSINESS

Chinese Esports Specialist ESV5 Aims to Go Global With Swedish Merger

What’s new: Chinese esports firm ESV5 E-Sport Group Co. Ltd. has completed a merger with Swedish peer Ninjas in Pyjamas (NIP) through an equity swap that could lay the groundwork for an IPO.

The firms said the deal — which created the new entity NIP Group — was one of the sector’s largest ever cross-border mergers, but did not give details or figures in an announcement Tuesday.

Originally announced in 2021, the merger is seen as a pathway for the Chinese company to expand internationally, while providing the Swedish company with access to the immense League of Legends Pro League, run by Tencent Holdings Ltd.

ESV5 Chairman Mario Ho will be the chairman and co-CEO of NIP Group. While Hicham Chahine, the CEO of NIP, has been nominated as the co-CEO of NIP Group, his role as NIP’s chief executive is unchanged.

Background: Esports firms organize and manage teams that go head-to-head in video game competitions, typically for cash prizes. They also make money from sponsorship deals and influencer bookings. The industry was expected to generate around $1.38 billion in revenue last year, according to gaming market tracker Newzoo, which predicts that figure will grow to $1.87 billion by 2025.

Founded in 2000, NIP manages esports teams that specialize in well-known titles, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six Siege and Valorant, as well as the FIFA series. The company said it has more than 5 million followers across all platforms.

ESV5 owns two major esports units, eStar Gaming and Victory 5, which the company said have around 35 million followers on social media.

Related: NetEase Plummets After Ending China Deal for Blizzard

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Ward Zhou (nanyuzhou@caixin.com) and editor Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

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