Culver City-based mobile gaming outfit Scopely announced April 5 it agreed to be acquired by Saudi Arabian esports and gaming company Savvy Games Group. The transaction is worth $4.9 billion.
Scopely launched in 2011 and it found its niche adapting popular pop culture IP into mobile games. Some of its biggest hits include “Star Trek Fleet Command,” “Marvel Strike Force” and “Scrabble GO.” The company became one of Los Angeles’ top-valued startups in 2020 when it raised $340 million from investors, just after raising $200 million months prior.
In a statement Wednesday, Scopely co-CEOs Walter Driver and Javier Ferreira explained Scopely will “become an autonomous operating company under the Savvy umbrella.” This implies the publisher will retain its branding and staff, but report to the new parent company.
Founded in 2021 by former Activision Blizzard head of worldwide studios Brian Ward, Savvy consists of five companies including Savvy Games Studios, which publishes games and Savvy Games Fund, which invests in them. It also runs esports outfit ESL FACEIT Group.
Savvy Games Group is run by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which in recent years has greatly increased its investment in technology as it seeks to diversify its portfolio and drive larger returns by funneling its wealth into other industries more stable than oil. The tech sector doesn’t appear to be squeamish about taking Saudi funding anymore – earlier this week, a venture arm affiliated with the same state-run fund announced it’d backed some 18 startups and 40 venture and growth funds, including Andreessen Horowitz.
“Through this partnership, Scopely will benefit from Savvy’s ecosystem and long-term commitment to helping us achieve our ambitious goals,” the co-CEOs said in a statement. They noted they expect the deal to help Scopely expand further into new markets as well as “accelerate the expansion of our live games, slate, team, and technology to bring even more immersive experiences to communities around the world.”