German online publisher Gameforge has told GamesIndustry.biz that its recent purchase of Frogster is the first of many acquisitions, as the company looks to grow rapidly in a consolidating market.
Financial officer Christopher Jennen said that social and free-to-play businesses are being snapped up quickly – Playdom grabbed free-to-play company Acclaim before being bought by Disney last week – and Gameforge doesn't intend to be left behind.
"We observe a strong tendency to consolidate for the time being not only in the field of social media, but we also see first consolidation in our market area," Jennen told GamesIndustry.biz Germany.
"Ultimately, we compete with every company that stands with us in the race for the time of the player. So, this consolidation is also a reason for us to enter into participation in Frogster."
The company has ambitious organic growth plans - it's looking to recruit 100 staff in the next 12 months – but Jennen said it needs to grab new businesses if it hopes to continue to compete.
"We do not believe that this is enough to continue to play a leadership role in the future. We already see that we must press ahead with this with selected acquisitions."
The company bought 60 per cent of Frogster this week, and claims to have already won over more than a third of Frogster shareholders for the 26.5 per cent of shares still on the market, while the founders of Frogster own the remaining 13.5 per cent.
"We assume that this is a good signal to the market and is accepted positively by the remaining shareholders," said Jennen.
It's also important to Gameforge that Frogster remains as independent as possible, having already established itself as a hit-maker with titles such as Runes of Magic, Bounty Bay Online and The Spellborne Chronicles.
"We don't want to make any merger, but we want to leave Frogster independently as possible. People in the games industry are passionate, they come with heart and soul into the matter and they need their space to create products, which we can market," offered Jennen.
Frogster also has a stronger presence in the US region, allowing Gameforge to "feel the pulse" of the market, added Jennen.