The sale of the Croatian Nanobit to the Swedish Stillfront Group, which went for a price of almost one billion kuna, is in the competition of the economic venture of the year, ie the acquisition of the year.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tanja Ivancic writes on the 17th of November, 2020, the Croatian Nanobit was built for a full twelve years by two of its founders, Alan Sumina and Zoran Vucinic, in order to reach the moment when it was necessary to decide whether to sell it or not. To briefly recall, they started out with a fitness app, then spotting space for growth in the gaming sector.
Until then, gaming was reserved for professionals, and what they realised was that everyone else wanted to play, optionally, just for fun. It was this segment that they then decided to cover because ”casual” pastime games were few and far between and they were poorly made. Thus, the Croatian Nanobit has grown into a prestigious company in the mobile game market.
In twelve years, the Croatian Nanobit has grown to 125 highly educated employees, their games have been downloaded more than 145 million times in total, and are played by more than 10 million active players worldwide on a monthly basis.
What crowned their success is their extremely successful sale for almost one billion kuna to the Swedish Stillfront Group.
Namely, the Swedish Stillfront, whose headquarters are in Stockholm and which is publicly listed on the Nasdaq First North Premier Growth Market, will pay 100 million US dollars in the first tranche for 78 percent of Nanobit shares, and after two years will buy the rest of Nanobit at a price that will depend on the movement of profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of Nanobit in the financial years 2021 and 2022.
The right move at the right time
The total amount Stillfront will pay at the end of the transaction will be up to 148 million dollars. The company, founded back in 2010, has so far had 14 gaming studios in Germany, Malta, Ireland, Sweden, Romania, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, the United States, Austria, Vietnam and now here in Croatia.
Their active portfolio includes 40 games mostly from three areas, strategy, simulation and action role play. When asked why they decided to sell, and not to further their own independent development, Alan and Zoran answered: ”The industry in which we operate is very rough when it comes to competition and there is indeed a real struggle in the global market. It’s currently rapidly consolidating and the choice was to join those who will develop the company further or be left on our own against them all. We believe that this was the best we could have done and at the right time, and the situation with the coronavirus crisis also worked to contribute to this move. “
They say from the Croatian Nanobit that they didn’t fall for the first offer and that they had at least a few bidders every year. What was almost crucial for them was that the company stays here in Croatia and as such the high autonomy in decision-making remains here too. That’s what they achieved. By joining the Stillfront group, Nanobit will gain additional momentum that will allow them to continue growing, developing new ambitious plans and projects.
They’re looking forward to cooperating with others within Stillfront, which, they say, will further accelerate the development of both the Croatian Nanobit and the Swedish Stillfront Group, and Nanobit’s employees will have the opportunity to work with some of the best in the world, say Alan Sumina and Zoran Vucinic.
When they say ”cooperate”, they mean that Nanobit’s employees have the opportunity to grow and develop themselves, because about 95 percent of their employees have been there since day one and have learned and mastered everything they know at Nanobit.
Since five percent of Nanobit’s shares are in the hands of the company’s employees, another 20 Nanobit employees will become richer for a large amount of money with this transaction and the move of the founders of Nanobit. They have realised their options on contracts and sold their shares, and conditionally speaking, some of them will become millionaires when the purchase of the entire Nanobit is completed.
It’s also worth mentioning, as was announced by the new Swedish owners, in the first half of 2020, Nanobit recorded a rapid increase in revenue to 236 million kuna with an operating profit of 44 million kuna. By the end of the year, they say, the Croatian studio is aiming for revenue of around 460 million kuna in total.
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