S'pore game firm bought for $125m

S'pore game firm bought for $125m
(From left) Co-founders Henrik Karlstrom, Teemu Ikonen, Henric Suuronen and Juha Paananen. They founded Nonstop Games, a tablet and mobile gaming start-up in 2011.

Candy crush saga developer King, one of the world's largest video game companies, has acquired Singapore-based Nonstop Games for up to US$100 million (S$125 million).

The sale, completed on Aug 6, is made up of a US$6 million upfront payment, and US$10 million paid to a select group of Nonstop Games employee shareholders who will stay on with the company for another year.

Another US$16 million in cash will be paid annually over the next four years to retain employment of certain Nonstop Games employees.

Nonstop Games declined to reveal its number of employees, though it was reported to have a staff of 11 here as of March last year.

The remaining sum due will be based on revenue from upcoming Nonstop games.

The company was established in 2011 under the name GamesMadeMe and renamed Nonstop Games in March 2012.

It was founded by four Finns - chief technology officer Teemu Ikonen, lead programmer Henrik Karlström, chief executive officer Juha Paananen, and president Henric Suuronen.

Mr Paananen was formerly with Nokia Asia-Pacific when its Asia-Pacific headquarters was based here and chose to set up Nonstop in Singapore.

In March last year, it raised US$2.9 million in funding from two Scandinavian venture firms, Creandum and Lifeline, to create games for the iOS and Android platforms.

The company released two games, Dollar Isle and Painstars, in 2012 before launching its third game, Heroes of Honor, last year. The latter came second in the Editors' Choice category at The Straits Times Digital Life Awards in February.

A free-to-play real-time strategy and city management game for Apple devices and Facebook, the game shares several similarities with another popular iOS and Android game, Clash of Clans - including the use of in-app purchases to sell players additional items.

Mr Paananen is the younger brother of Mr Ilkka Paananen, the CEO of Supercell - a direct competitor to King and the company behind Clash of Clans.

According to mobile advertising data service Think Gaming, Clash of Clans is the current top grossing iOS game, and brings in US$1,258,062 in daily revenue. It is followed by King's Candy Crush Saga, which nets a daily revenue of US$995,101.

In a statement, King said that Nonstop Games will add new games outside the company's traditional casual genre. Nonstop Games will remain in Singapore and continue to work on games to be released next year.

Mr Paananen declined to comment on future plans for the company.


This article was published on Aug 14 in The Straits Times.

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