Accel sells Supercell shares, SoftBank ups stake

"SoftBank's total ownership in Supercell reached 73.2%"

Accel has sold its shares in Clash Of Clans developer, it has announced, while Japanese investor SoftBank has increased its total ownership to 73.2 per cent (on a fully-diluted basis).

"Today, SoftBank Corp. announced that it has acquired an additional 22.7 per cent holding in Supercell Oy, the leader in the mobile games industry with a track record of global top-ranking mobile game titles. As part of the deal, we have sold our remaining shares in Supercell," said Accel's Kevin Comolli as part of the announcement.

Accel was the first and only institutional venture investor of Supercell, financing the company in May 2011 with an $11 million Series A round.

"We have been lucky in many ways, including with our investors," added CEO & co-founder Ilkka Paananen.

"Accel always supported our long-term vision, particularly as we made tough decisions early on about where we would focus our efforts. There are many reasons why we've been able to make great games and one is the support we have had from Accel, who have been insightful, strategic, supportive and responsive."

It was October 2013 when Finnish developer Supercell has sold a 51 per cent stake in the company to Softbank and developer GungHo Online Entertainment in a deal worth $1.5 billion. GungHo Entertainment then sold its stake in Supercell to SoftBank, its parent company in August 2014.

"Supercell is expected to continue to be a leader in the mobile games industry," said a SoftBank statement.

"SoftBank positions its partnership with Supercell as core to its mobile content strategy and believes that strengthening its relationship with Supercell through the Transaction will further contribute to the SoftBank Group's growth over the long-term."

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Latest comments (3)

Jason A Bentley Owner, Hemlock Games2 years ago
Can anyone speak from a position of experience about what it's like to be part of company that routinely has it's investment/ownership change regularly?

I was part of an independent studio that was purchased by Activision, but I wonder what (if any) impact it has on the day-to-day to have the ultimate ownership change so often.
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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief2 years ago
My guess is that there is a fundamental difference between ownership changes in product-based companies (typically, with the exception of Blizzard the companies that Activision has bought in the past) and service-based ones.

Supercell has been running more like a VC-style startup for some time: building products, launching MVPs (although the bar for "minimum" is very high), tracking metrics, keeping customers happy and so on. That is very different to the model of "make the game that management wants" that remains prevalent in boxed product spaces.

I suspect that changes of investment make very little difference. The change to being owned by Softbank potentially made quite a lot difference. This kind of transaction, where the major shareholder becomes the bigger major shareholder, probably not very much difference either.

But of course, I could be wrong.
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Hugo Trepanier Game Designer, Behaviour Interactive2 years ago
@Jason It really depends on the nature of the new owner's involvement with day to day operations. I've been in a place where owners changed completely and initially you wouldn't have seen the difference if it wasn't for the press release announcing it. They basically let us keep doing what we did best, without intervention. Then several months down the line they suddenly changed the vocation of the studio (got rid of all artists and solely focused on back end programming) and things went downhill from there. We closed within the year.

When I was with Jamdat and we got acquired by EA, it meant a world of good for us. That worked very well for several years since the internal culture did not change drastically and in fact mostly improved. We had better offices, more resources, access to a ton of valuable IP, complete insurance benefits, company stock options and whatnot, while still retaining a lot of ownership to our teams and products.
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