15 Dec 2021
PAI Partners (“PAI”), a pre-eminent private equity firm, today announces that it has reached an agreement to sell Asmodee, a leading board game publisher and distributor, to Embracer Group (“Embracer”), a global public video game company. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory merger control clearance and work council consultations.
Asmodee is a leading international game publisher and distributor committed to telling amazing stories through great games with over 39 million products sold annually in more than 50 countries. Through its portfolio of iconic game titles, including Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Dixit, Splendor, 7 Wonders, Just One, Dobble/Spot it!, Azul and Unlock!, Asmodee creates a dynamic transmedia experience for players across a variety of digital and physical platforms. Asmodee also creates inspiring and innovative products in partnership with leading entertainment and technology companies. With a global workforce of over 2,300 people, Asmodee operates in Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Asmodee is headquartered in Guyancourt, France.
PAI acquired Asmodee in 2018 for an enterprise value of c. €1.2bn. Under its ownership, Asmodee has grown significantly, displaying solid double-digit organic growth while pursuing a value-accretive M&A strategy with 23 acquisitions completed, including some of the most successful board game publishers such as Repos Production, Libellud, Plan B and, most recently, Exploding Kittens. The company has successfully accelerated its transformation towards a more customer-centric organisation and further reinforced its portfolio of iconic global brands through adding the likes of Werewolves, Azul or Dixit. Since PAI’s investment in 2018, Asmodee sales and EBITDA have grown from €500m and €90m respectively to €1.1bn and c.€250m, illustrating the firm’s ability to support and accelerate the growth of consumer companies worldwide.
As part of the transaction, PAI would also become a shareholder in Embracer, with approximately 4% of the shares, enabling the firm to retain exposure to the attractive and fast-growing gaming and entertainment segments and to benefit from the value creation of the combined new group.
Stéphane Carville, CEO of Asmodee, said: “As we welcome today’s announcement, we would also like to thank PAI, who have been a hugely supportive partner to our team since 2018. Together, we have set a solid basis for Asmodee to become a leading global entertainment company with an attractive financial profile. Embracer’s offer fully recognises the significant value created since 2018.”
Gaëlle d’Engremont, Partner and Head of the Food & Consumer sector at PAI Partners, said: “In partnership with Stéphane and the whole of Asmodee’s management team, we have implemented a highly ambitious strategy over the past three years and we are proud to say that the company is today an undeniable leader in the exciting world of board games. Our focus has been on growth, both organic by investing in people and operations, and inorganic, with 23 acquisitions completed since 2018, with sales more than doubling during our ownership. Asmodee is now ideally positioned to pursue its successful journey with the long-term support of a leading player in the game industry.”
PAI was advised by Goldman Sachs and Natixis Partners on M&A, PwC on Financial, Clifford Chance and Linklaters on Legal, Bain & Company on Commercial and Arsène Taxand on Tax.