Ninja Kiwi, the mobile and web games developer based in New Zealand and Dundee, are the latest local games developer to be acquired by Swedish entertainment company Modern Times Group.
MTG, who also own esports giant ESL and web games platform Kongregate, purchased the developer for $142 million with the promise of a further $47.2 million if Ninja Kiwi reaches profitability targets over the next three years.
This announcement comes just a few months after MTG acquired racing game specialist Hutch Games, which also has a presence in Dundee, for $375 million.
Founded in 2006 by brother Chris and Stephen Harris, Ninja Kiwi is best known for Bloons, a series of browser and mobile games which includes the highly successful tower defense spin-off Bloons TD.
In 2012, Ninja Kiwi acquired Dundee studio and long term development partners Digital Goldfish, who were enlisted to bring the New Zealand studio’s Flash-based games to other platforms.
MTG, which has a $1.3 billion market cap, said buying Ninja Kiwi would take it into a new gaming genre, tower defence strategy games, with a total of approximately 140 million downloads to date and 6.2 million monthly active users.
“After completing the acquisition, MTG holds strong positions in the city building and strategy genres through InnoGames, mobile racing through Hutch, idle games through Kongregate and tower defence through Ninja Kiwi,” the company said in a statement.
MTG’s Group President and CEO Maria Redin, said:
Ninja Kiwi has popularised the entire genre of tower defence games, and continues to pioneer it. Its evergreen Bloons IP and gaming platform has introduced millions to the tower defence genre, combining puzzle and strategy elements in games developed mainly for mobile platforms.”
The strong organic traffic to Ninja Kiwi’s portfolio of games is hugely impressive, as is the company’s successful combination of paid and in-app purchase models in its pricing structure – both are testament to the quality of the titles that Ninja Kiwi has created. We’re very pleased that Ninja Kiwi is joining MTG and our growing gaming vertical, further broadening our offering through the introduction of a new genre.
In a statement about the acquisition, the Harris brothers underline the marketing expertise that MTG will bring to their catalogue, as well the potential for Ninja Kiwi to enter the world of esports:
“MTG and its group of gaming companies brings tremendous strength in several areas. Marketing is a good example of an area where our skill set is pretty light. We don’t have a single marketing person on staff after many years of doing this. We’ve tended to let our games speak for themselves, along with the support of an amazingly positive community, and we’ve done fine from that. But in the highly competitive world of games we do see this as a weakness to the business. Another area for you BTD Battles players to get pretty excited about is Esports. MTG also owns ESL and DreamHack, making it the largest Esports company in the world. We would loooove the highly competitive nature of Battles to be played out in front of audiences of fans. Imagine the awesomeness.”
Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash