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Hostile takeovers come to the Games industry, perhaps for the first time ever

By on May 22, 2012

Korean publisher Nexon, listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, has built a 33% “hostile” position in Taiwanese firm Gamania, according to

Gamania clearly view the stake as hostile:

“The company welcomes any form of investment and cooperation, but insists on maintaining independent control of the company’s management,”

The games industry has typically been seen as immune to hostile takeovers, since so much of the value of a games business is the staff. Conventional wisdom goes that if your primary asset walks out of the door every day, you have to treat them very nicely, and that includes not trying to buy the company against the will of senior management.

But has that changed? The new world of games is less about that creative spark of brilliance and more about measurable, tangible value. It’s about audience size, distribution networks, metrics-led design and so on. It is less about the raw talent of the team. (In fact, I’m not sure that games development was ever as unmanageably creative as some people have said, but the transition to network gaming has made the change even starker).

So if more gaming companies go public, can we expect to see more hostile takeovers? Only if companies don’t put in special provisions to ensure they retain control at the expense of outside shareholders (like Mark Pincus did at Zynga), I guess.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: