NorthEdge Capital, the private equity firm focused on investing in businesses in the North of England, has backed the MBO of Sumo Digital (Sumo), the award winning video game development studio.
Founded in 2003, Sumo is headquartered in Sheffield with an office in Pune, India, and employs more than 240 people. One of Europe’s leading independent game studios, Sumo partners with top tier publishers and has developed a number of high profile titles including Forza Horizon 2 for Microsoft’s Xbox360, Sonic and Sega All Star Racing, and Xbox Fitness. Most recently, Sumo has partnered with Sony to develop Little Big Planet 3, which is due for imminent release.
NorthEdge has backed the existing management team, comprising Carl Cavers (CEO), Paul Porter (COO), Chris Stockwell (CFO) and Darren Mills (Executive Art Director) to complete an MBO from Foundation 9 Entertainment, the US entertainment media company which acquired Sumo in 2007.
The Yorkshire gaming industry is worth tens of millions of pounds to the regional economy, and continues to go from strength to strength. The sector is supported by several Universities in the region, which are proactive in providing courses and appropriate guidance to students looking to pursue a career in the industry.
Director James Hall and Investment Manager Phil Frame led the deal for NorthEdge. Hall and Frame will join the Board as Non-Executive Directors.
James Hall, Director of NorthEdge, commented: “Sumo Digital is a fantastic business, with an incredible reputation and a track record of delivering top titles. The business is working on a number of exciting projects and we look forward to partnering with Carl and the team as they further grow the business, capitalising on opportunities within the marketplace. Sumo has an exciting time ahead and we’re extremely pleased to be on board.”
Carl Cavers, Sumo CEO, added: “With the imminent release of Little Big Planet 3 and a number of exciting projects under development, the business is in an extremely strong position. We are delighted to have completed the MBO and to be partnering with NorthEdge as we accelerate our growth strategy and cement our position as one of Europe’s leading game developers.”
The deal is the sixth this year for NorthEdge Capital, representing nearly £80million of investment into Northern businesses.
A cross-service line team from Deloitte provided advice to Northedge Capital, including lead advisory (Dan Renton, Paul Trickett, Will Johnson, Maninder Minhas), financial and tax due diligence (Stuart Cottee, Matt Henderson, Jon Steed, David Aindow, Julie Campbell), and commercial due diligence. Addleshaw Goddard (Yunus Seedat and Susie Siddall) provided legal advice.
The Quinn Partnership provided management due diligence. Intuitus provided technical due diligence and Hendersons provided insurance due diligence. Banking facilities were provided by Barclays (Richard Faulkner).
Mike Lang, President of Lang Media Group and board member for Foundation 9 (parent company of Sumo) helped facilitate the deal for the seller.
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