Next Games’ “Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales”
Courtesy of Netflix
Founded in 2013, Next Games has created games based on popular entertainment franchises, including story-driven puzzle game “Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales” and two based on hit zombie series “The Walking Dead.”
Helsinki-based Next Games had about 120 employees at the end of 2021 and reported sales of approximately €27.2 million ($30 million) in 2020 with 95% of revenues generated from in-game purchases.
The deal comes less than six months after Netflix’s acquisition of Night School Studio, a game developer best known for its supernatural mystery adventure title “Oxenfree.”
Netflix has launched a selection of games, starting with handful of mobile titles, as an extension to its core video-entertainment for no extra charge.
“Next Games has a seasoned management team, strong track record with mobile games based on entertainment franchises, and solid operational capabilities,” said Michael Verdu, VP of games for Netflix, in a statement. “We are excited for Next Games to join Netflix as a core studio in a strategic region and key talent market, expanding our internal game studio capabilities.”
Netflix’s deal for Next Games is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. Under the terms of the agreement, Netflix is offering €2.10 in cash per share of Next Games, for a total equity value of approximately €65 million ($72 million). The offer is a nearly 70% premium over the volume-weighted average price per share (€1.24) of Next Game’s stock over the previous six-month period and 125.6% over the March 1 closing price.
AMC Networks, home of “The Walking Dead,” is a major shareholder in Next Games. The board of directors of Next Games has unanimously voted to recommend that shareholders accept Netflix’s tender offer.
With the Netflix acquisition, Next Games CEO Teemu Huuhtanen is expected to remain with the company. “There are no plans to make changes in the Next Games leadership team at the moment,” a Next Games rep said. Prior to Next Games, Huuhtanen worked at “Angry Birds” creator Rovio as head of M&A.
“We have had an unwavering focus to execute on our vision: to become the partner of choice for global entertainment businesses and craft authentic and long-lasting interactive entertainment based on the world’s most beloved franchises,” Huuhtanen commented. “Joining forces with the world’s largest streaming service, Netflix, presents an opportunity for a logical and exciting continuation of our strategy to craft interactive experiences for the world to enjoy.”
He added, “Our close collaboration with Netflix on ‘Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales’ has already proven that together we create a strong partnership. This is a unique opportunity to level-up the studio on all fronts and continue on our mission together.”
Variety's Todd Spangler contributed to this post.