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BENGALURU : In its first acquisition after going public in March, Nazara Technologies Ltd has signed a binding term sheet to acquire Middle East- and Turkey-based mobile gaming publishing agency Publishme for $2.7 million, through a primary and secondary transaction.

Nazara will pick up a 69.82% stake in the company, as it looks to strengthen its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“We operate across key gaming segments of premium e-sports and gamified learning, and have a strong presence in North America and India. Now, if any of these entities will have to expand their footprint into newer geographies, they would like to acquire execution capabilities. Hence, if we have to expand in MENA, we will need publishing and the Publishme acquisition helps us in this strategic growth," said Manish Agarwal, chief executive officer of Nazara Technologies, in an interview.

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“For the content to succeed, one has to understand the local cultural resonance, whether it is relating to the content itself or for marketing of the content," he added.

Publishme is a full-service games marketing and publishing agency, which works extensively with gaming companies and brands in Turkey and the MENA region. At present, the company’s clientele includes Garena, My.Games and Lokum Games, among others.

For Nazara, more than 80% of its revenue currently comes from North America and India, and MENA is its next big focus, added Agarwal.

The company has been present in MENA through telecom subscriptions, but now wants to offer its freemium gaming, e-sports and gamified learning offerings in the region.

The company is actively looking to acquire and is expected to make international buyouts to push the key offerings in new markets.

“For India, we will acquire businesses to build capabilities, while maintaining market leadership and going deeper in gaming categories where we already have a presence. This includes real-money gaming, cricket simulation and e-sports, for instance [...] While the acquisition focus is on profitable businesses, we are ensuring to not over concentrate our profits and revenues on one segment," he added.

At present, Nazara owns majority stakes in Paper Boat Apps, a kids gamified learning platform; Nodwin Gaming, an e-sports company; Absolute Sports, owner of multi-sports content platform Sportskeeda; Nextwave Multimedia, developer of cricket simulation game World Cricket Championship (WCC); Halaplay, a fantasy gaming platform; and Sports Unity, creator of quiz game Qunami.

“We are delighted to join Nazara and lead the company’s foray in the MENA region. MENA is one of the fastest-growing gaming markets, with an estimated size of $4.8 billion with over 160 million gamers (of which 100 million are mobile gamers). Our alliance with Nazara offers a unique blend of network, global reach and local capabilities to further the growth of the gaming industry," said Özgür Özalp, chief executive officer, Publishme.

With the acquisition, Publishme will also become a full-fledged publisher in the MENA region, he said.

“MENA is a key geography for us and this acquisition will help us in establishing ourselves as a key player in the region. We are excited to have someone with deep regional knowledge and capabilities like Özgür and his team join the ‘Friends of Nazara’ network," said Nitish Mittersain, founder and joint managing director, Nazara Technologies. In FY21, Nazara’s revenues surged 83% to 454 crore.

While gamified early learning and e-sports together contributed 76% to total revenues, it reported profit at the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) level worth 45 crore against a loss of 5.6 crore in the last fiscal year.

Nazara Technologies became the first Indian gaming company to go public, with the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) on 17 March. The IPO got a good response, with the 583 crore offer being subscribed 175.46 times.

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