Starbreeze, a Sweden based independent video game developer and publisher, has acquired a 90.5% stake in Indian art production and game development company Dhruva Interactive for $8.5 million: $7 million of this will be in cash, whereas the $1.5 million would be in newly issued Starbreeze B-shares, the company announced.
Starbreeze acquired the company in order to “secure its art production needs,” improve the quality of its inhouse production projects and lower operating costs. Starbreeze will also offer end to end game making services to publishers and pad its VR ecosystem.
Dhruva will operate independently and continue servicing its global clients. Dhruva has over 320 employees. According to the company statement, Dhruva’s revenues were $4.5 million for the financial year ended March 2016. The acquisition deal is expected to close at the end of the first quarter in 2017 subject to approval of foreign investors in India.
Dhruva was founded by K Rajesh Rao in 1997 and has developed PC and mobile games like Mission: Impossible, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Terminator 3 – Rise of the Machines, Forza Motorsport, Battlefield: Modern Combat, Need For Speed: PROSTREET and NFS: UnderCover among others. Its art studio offers animation, in game integration, concept art, game art and mobile services. At the end of 2013, Dhruva Interactive set up an incubator called Gametantra targeting mobile game developers and offered space and mentorship in return for a 3-7% stake.
Developments in the mobile and gaming space in India
Earlier this week, InMobi partnered exclusively with US based Tapjoy, a mobile ads and app monetisation company, to monetise their inventory in India. Recently, Bangalore-based mobile gaming platform PlaySimple secured $4 million in a series A round of funding led by SAIF Partners and IDG Ventures India. Alibaba Group’s 9Apps tied up with Disney India’s Interactive business to host and promote over 300 mobile games from the latter’s gaming catalogue. Earlier this year, mobile game developer Nazara Games acquired a 26% stake in Mastermind Sports.
Update: An earlier version of this article inferred that there is no indication whether Dhruva will retain its employees. We’ve been informed that the company will continue to operate as before, and continue to service its clients