Digital Bros. to buy Starbreeze assets from Smilegate

The €19.2m deal will give Italian publisher 30% of Starbreeze stock and 40% of voting rights

Digital Bros. will raise its stake in Starbreeze to more than 30%, through the acquisition of all assets held by Crossfire developer Smilegate.

The total price of the deal will be €19.2 million, for assets with a nominal value of €36 million.

Smilegate's holdings include: a convertible bond worth SEK 215 million (€20.4 million); €13.8 million in credit as part of the Stockholm District Court's reconstruction plan; and type A and B shares in Starbreeze for a price of €1.8 million.

When the deal completes, Digital Bros. will own 30.18% of Starbreeze share capital, and have 40.83% of the voting rights. Prior to this deal, the Italian firm was already the major stakeholder, with 7% of its share capital and 28.6% of voting rights.

The link between the two companies -- and the clearest incentive for the deal -- is the Payday franchise. The console versions of Payday 2 were published through Digital Bros. subsidiary 505 Games, and the online shooter was the bedrock of Starbreeze's success for many years.

Payday 3 is currently in development, and it has the potential to both reinvigorate Starbreeze and be very lucrative for its publisher. According to a statement from Digital Bros., it has the potential to "earn out of up to US $40 million on 33% of net revenues" from Payday 3.

Starbreeze completed its reconstruction in December, after a year in which the future of the Swedish company was very much in question. Digital Bros. described the increase of its stake in Starbreeze as "a step enabling the Group to exert greater control over the corporate strategy of Starbreeze AB going forward."

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