Cologne Huge deal in esports: A company backed by a Saudi government fund acquires tournament organizers ESL and Faceit. Both must merge.
Major takeover of international esports: Savvy Gaming Group (SGG), funded by the Saudi state fund, has acquired ESL from Swedish company Modern Times Group. As announced by ESL, the company will also merge with rival Faceit.
According to a report by Handelsblatt, SGG is paying about $1 billion for ESL and another $500 million for Faceit.
Get money from Saudi Arabia
Faceit runs a tournament platform for Counter-Strike, but also for other esports disciplines. The Savvy Gaming Group is funded by the Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The transaction is expected to be completed by the middle of the year.
ESL is the largest third-party provider of esports tournaments in the world. The Cologne-based company was founded in 2000 by Ralph Reichert, among others, who has run it until now as co-CEO. According to “Handelsblatt,” Reichert is selling his stock with the acquisition.
Ralph Reichert with a new role in ESL
He also transforms into the CEO role. Newly formed ESL Faceit will be led by new co-CEOs Craig Levine, formerly of ESL, and Niccolo Maisto, formerly of Faceit.
ESL employs about 600 people. Its most popular events include IEM in Katowice, Poland, and ESL One Cologne. Tournaments and LAN parties under the Dreamhack brand also belong to ESL.
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