Two of the biggest companies in esports, ESL and FACEIT, have been acquired by the Savvy Gaming Group this week in a $1.5 billion deal. The SGG is known in the space for its ties to Saudi Arabia, as the group is financially backed by the country’s public investment fund.
Previously, Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund has also purchased shares in major games publishers, like EA, Take-Two and Activision Blizzard. Under the Savvy Gaming Group, ESL and FACEIT will be merging into one company, with the goal of delivering the ‘ultimate’ competitive gaming platform.
“The deal will combine ESL’s expertise in building, broadcasting, and commercializing premium esports ecosystems, including arena and festival events, with FACEIT’s capabilities in developing best-in-class tools for competitive games and a leading social network of competitive players”, the press release says. “Together, ESL & FACEIT deliver an end-to-end solution that supports game publishers and developers to build sustainable competitive gaming communities and esports ecosystems.”
Both ESL and FACEIT will maintain their current leaders, but some roles are being changed around. For instance, Craig Levine and Niccolo Maisto will be co-CEOs, and Ralf Reichert, co-founder of ESL, will move into a non-operational role as Executive Chairman. Currently the acquisition is pending regulator approvals, but SGG, ESL and FACEIT expect the deal to close in Q2 2022.
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KitGuru Says: ESL and FACEIT are both major companies in the esports space, so it will be interesting to see what they can do as a single unit. This deal will cause some controversy though, as previous PIF gaming investments and partnerships have.