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Michael Metzger, a partner in Drake Star Partners, sat down with Damian Lee from Krafton at GamesBeat Summit 2022. They discuss the company’s IPO, M&A (mergers and acquisitions), and what lies ahead. For this article, however, we’re going to concentrate on the Krafton strategy for acquisitions.
After the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, Bluehole Studio formed Krafton as a holding company. In 2021, Krafton held an IPO that ended up netting the company 3.8 billion dollars. With these new funds available, Krafton set out to acquire studios. One of the latest acquisitions is Unknown Worlds.
“Unknown Worlds is a phenomenal team,” said Lee. “They’ve been around for a very long time, over 20 years. They are a very tightknit team that created Subnautica, which is well-loved and a big success. They were financially stable, so they don’t need an investment, and they have concerns that anyone would have with being acquired. ‘Are we going to have disruptions in our creative process? Is someone going to come in and try to fire people on day one?’”
How do you convince a company in that position to sell? Lee believes you need to tailor each approach to the team in question.
“We took a lot of time to understand what they are looking for,” continued Lee. “One of the things we were able to be convincing on is that the executive producers at independent studios in Krafton have a huge amount of power. It’s one of the most creator friendly environments of any game studios with subsidiaries. This goes right up to the top. Our CEO didn’t come from a business background, he was the executive producer of PUBG.”
Krafton’s approach seems to be working. Unknown Worlds is set to release a new IP this summer, with Subnautica 3 also on the horizon. For more of this interview please check out the GamesBeat Summit 2022.
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