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Starbreeze raises $30m in share sale after failure of Raid: World War II

Swedish publisher pledges a stronger marketing push for Overkill's The Walking Dead, and to accelerate production of Payday 3

The disappointing performance of Raid: World War II has pushed Starbreeze to raise $30 million through a share sale, as it seeks to finance its business plan until the release of Overkill's The Walking Dead.

The sale involves 20.7 million new Class B shares in the Swedish publisher, at a subscription price of SEK 11.52 ($1.46) per share - a premium of 13 per cent compared to the average share price over the last 30 days of trading. In total, the sale will raise approximately SEK 238 million ($30 million / 21.1 million).

In a statement accompanying the news, Starbreeze said: "The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the directed share issue and the planned rights issue to ensure the financing of the existing business plan until the release of OVERKILL's The Walking Dead, scheduled for the fall of 2018, and to leverage business opportunities to accelerate growth and broaden the revenue base within the core business."

In a separate statement, Starbreeze attributed the sale to Lion Game Lion's Raid: World War II, which the company published for PC and console in September last year. The game received poor to middling reviews from critics and, according to Starbreeze, its sales were, "significantly below the Company's expectations, despite several measures taken."

Along with a delay to the release window for the biggest launch on the company's schedule, Overkill's The Walking Dead, that failure has taken its toll on Starbreeze's cash flows. The money raised in the share sale will help finance its business plan until The Walking Dead launches at the end of this year, and fund a more concerted marketing push.

"Advance interest in the Company's upcoming game OTWD is intense, as reflected in media coverage of the initial marketing of the game," Starbreeze said. "In order to create good conditions for a successful release and high game sales volumes, Starbreeze aims to expand marketing ahead of, and in conjunction with, the release of the game."

The remaining amount will be invested in three ways: publishing new games that were not on the business plan it created in October 2017; the expansion of its existing game portfolio to new platforms and international territories, including the extension of Payday 2's development roadmap into 2019; and the acceleration of the production plan for Payday 3.

Starbreeze advised investors that it was still in "an expansion phase" across first-party development, third-party publishing and its VR business. The current business plan forecasts revenue of at least SEK 2 billion ($253 million / 177 million) in 2020, and positive EBITDA by Q4 of 2018.

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