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ESL and DreamHack merge

MTG's esports divisions formally combining with ESL co-CEOs Craig Levine and Ralf Reichert in charge, confirms layoffs

ESL and Dreamhack today announced that they have merged their organizations.

The two esports companies have both been subsidiaries of Modern Times Group (MTG) since 2015, when it acquired them in separate transactions.

The newly merged outfit is known as ESL Gaming, and will be led by ESL co-CEOs Craig Levine and Ralf Reichert. Dreamhack co-CEO Marcus Lindmark is also part of the ESL Gaming executive team.

"Through maximum cooperation and collaboration, and the melding of some of the best creative and visionary gaming minds in the industry, we will, together, continue to advance the innovation that drives this space via the most exceptional products and events," Levine said.

"For our partners, there will be more opportunities to engage with us through a wider range of activations across all levels of esports, and all aspects of gaming. And for our fans, it means we will offer one of the most expansive esports and gaming lifestyle portfolios available."

Lindmark added that the intent is to continue to grow DreamHack's events.

"With ESL, we will be able to offer a more tailored approach for both our community and our partners across all regions through an array of gaming and esports opportunities, all while creating impactful and memorable experiences. The future of gaming is now, and we are excited to create the future together," Lindmark said.

An ESL Gaming representative confirmed for GamesIndustry.biz the organization will have layoffs.

"Unfortunately, there will be a small amount of personnel changes in both size and scope," the representative said. "However, these changes are not a result of the merger, but is a result of organizational restructuring following an optimized operating model. Regretfully, in light of the global pandemic and the challenges that have come with it, many businesses are currently facing difficult decisions and this is no different with ESL Gaming - this is something we do not take lightly. Our staff is family, and we will do all we can to support everyone affected during this transition."

Earlier this year, MTG warned investors that the COVID-19 pandemic could undercut its esports revenues in the first half of the year by as much as 45%.

The company wound up outperforming that, with esports revenues for the first half of the year ultimately down 18%.

The merger also comes just weeks after MTG Group had a change in senior leadership, with CFO Maria Redin leaving that role to take over as the company's new CEO.

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