SANTA MONICA, Calif., and HELSINKI, July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As part of its recently-announced move into the gaming space, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a premier next generation global content leader, has formed a strategic partnership with the Finnish games developer Next Games and will make an investment in their extended Series A financing round, the two companies announced today.
The announcement follows Lionsgate’s recent appointment of games and digital media entrepreneur Peter Levin to be President of Interactive Ventures & Games. The collaboration re-affirms Next Games’ strategic approach of relying on intellectual property developed in-house complemented by strategically licensed properties.
Founded last year by gaming veterans from Rovio, Supercell and Disney, Next Games has assembled a team committed to creating lasting global entertainment brands by developing games with high end production values and engaging play experiences. Working in collaboration with AMC, they are currently developing a mobile free-to-play game based on the blockbuster TV series The Walking Dead as well as a game based on their own intellectual property.
“Gaming is a logical next step in extending our content portfolio, and we’re very excited about the potential of our partnership with Next Games,” said Levin. “Their management team has a proven track record of creating popular and successful brands for some of the industry leaders in the gaming space, and their passion, innovation and entrepreneurial culture are a perfect fit with our own. We see them as a prolific source of the next generation of games, creating exciting and engaging properties based on our franchises as well as new content that we develop together.”
“I couldn’t be happier to bring Lionsgate, one of the leading entertainment companies and premier content producers, on board with us. They have proven their strength in not only creating fascinating new stories for the world but doing a stellar job of marketing and turning them into blockbuster entertainment franchises,” said Next Games CEO Teemu Huuhtanen.
Next Games announced the first part of its external investment round earlier this year, raising $6 million in financing from an elite list of institutional, strategic and private investors.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. Lionsgate currently has over 30 television shows on more than 20 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show and the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black.
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first two installments of The Hunger Games franchise, the first installment of the recently-launched Divergent franchise, Now You See Me, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Warm Bodies, The Expendables 2, The Possession, Sinister, Roadside Attractions’ Mud and Pantelion Films’ breakout hit Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.
Lionsgate’s home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 15,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. www.lionsgate.com
About Next Games
Next Games, founded in 2013 by design veterans from Rovio, Supercell and Disney, focuses on crafting visually impressive, engaging games. Next Games has assembled a team with a profound love for games and a burning desire to develop lasting global entertainment. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, at the heart of mobile games development, and funded by an elite list of private investors. www.nextgames.com.
Peter D. Wilkes