Netflix To Buy Studio Behind “Stranger Things” Mobile Game For $70M
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), the movie streaming giant, is making a significant move in the gaming sector. It’s acquiring Next Games (HEL: NXTGMS), a Finnish mobile game studio whose titles includes a puzzle game based on Stranger Things, the popular Netflix series.
- Netflix has agreed to pay €2.1 in cash per share of Next Games, for a total equity value of €65mn ($72mn). The price represents a 126% premium to Next Games’ market value before the agreement, a pretty high premium.
- Next Games is Netflix’s second gaming studio acquisition since its inception. The first was Night School Studio, which the movie streaming giant bought last year for an undisclosed price.
- Netflix has stepped up its gaming efforts lately, seeing the sector as ideal to drive growth. Mike Verdu, a gaming industry veteran Netflix hired last year, oversees the company’s gaming initiatives. Verdu came from Meta (formerly Facebook), where he worked as vice president of augmented reality and virtual reality content. Before Meta, he held various roles at top-rated gaming companies, including Electronic Arts (EA), Zynga, Kabam, and Atari.
Netflix began rolling out its first mobile games to subscribers last November. There are currently over a dozen games available on the movie streaming app.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Netflix is buying Next Games, whose games include one based on Stranger Things, one of Netflix’s most successful series. Offering games based on original Netflix titles is a fitting way to drive engagement.
- Next Games was founded in 2013. It held a public listing on the Finnish stock markets in 2017, becoming the first publicly-traded game developer in the country.
- Next Games had €27mn ($30mn) in revenue in 2020, 95% of which came from in-game purchases. In the first half of 2021, it reported €12mn ($14mn) in revenue, down 15% year-over-year.
If all goes as planned, the acquisition will close in this year’s second quarter.