A while ago, we reported that SNK Playmore was possibly in talks to be acquired by a Chinese company called Leyou Technologies. The news originated from a stock filing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Though the exact name of the target company was not identified in the document, the details highly suggest that it was SNK Playmore. Since then, things have been relatively quiet and just when one would think that the deal has gone south, more news have surfaced recently and it seems like the deal have taken a different turn.
In a surprising twist, two different companies – Oriental Securities and Shunrong Sanqi have established a joint venture called Zheyuan to invest in Ledo Millenium, a subsidiary of Leyou Technologies. Through Ledo Millenium, the newly formed joint venture will pay 63.5 million USD to acquire 81.25% of SNK Playmore’s shares directly from former SNK CEO Eikichi Kawasaki and wife Natsuyo Kawasaki. The shares will give them majority control of SNK Playmore. The acquisition puts SNK Playmore a valuation at 78 million USD. The transaction was finalized on 8/6/2015 in Osaka, Japan.
Dongfang Xinghui (subsidiary of Oriental Securities) will be the majority shareholder of the joint venture with 80% of the shares. The CEO of Dongfang Xingui, Zheng Jianhui commented that the main reason for their acquisition of SNK Playmore is their vast number of game IPs and the all the tie-ins the SNK characters are involved in. In particular, he mentioned that going forward they aim to follow the “Marvel formula,” where the Marvel Universe has branched off into different spaces including comics, games, television, and movies to form a complete and synergistic IP portfolio. He is also looking forward to collaborations with other Chinese companies to develop games, anime, manga, televisions, and movies in order to fully develop SNK’s intellectual property.
Shunrong Sanqi, the minority owner of the joint venture is a Chinese online gaming giant. The company has recently acquired stakes in various media companies. Their cofounder and director, Wu Xushun, has recently joined the ranks of online game billionaires.