World’s largest esports firm ESL backs Nazara ahead of IPO

German esports firm Turtle Entertainment GmBH, which operates the world’s largest e-sports company ESL (Electronic Sports League), has picked up a minority stake in Mumbai-based mobile games developer Nazara Technologies Ltd, according to a regulatory disclosure.

Nazara, which is preparing itself for an initial public offering, disclosed this information as part of the draft red herring prospectus it filed early this month.

As per VCCircle estimates, ESL picked up a 1.8% stake in Nazara for Rs 26.5 crore ($4 million) valuing the firm at 1,472 crore ($230 million), ahead of the public offering.

Turtle manages esports events involving multi-player digital gaming and has been a partner for NODWIN Gaming, an Indian esports venture. Late last month, Nazara acquired a 55% majority stake in NODWIN for an undisclosed amount.

Cologne, Germany-based ESL, which was launched in 2000, was formerly known as Deutsche Clanliga which was founded in 1997. The company initially began with an online gaming league and a gaming magazine besides renting out servers for game competitions.

As per information available on its LinkedIn page, ESL operates international and national e-sports leagues and tournaments including Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One, ESL Pro Series, StarCraft II World Championship Series, as well as grassroots amateur cups, leagues and matchmaking systems.

The firm, which conducts many tournaments and leagues in partnership with brands, counts the likes of Intel, BenQ, Razer, Twitch, Deutsche Post, Dell, Volkswagen, Sennheiser, ASUS, Microsoft, Adidas, Trend Micro, SteelSeries, Supermicro, Blizzard Entertainment and Wargaming, among others, as its business partners.

Besides hosting e-sports tournaments and events, ESL handles event management, advertising and TV production, catering to the esports’ ecosystem.

In 2015, Sweden-headquartered digital entertainment major MTG (Modern Times Group) acquired a majority stake in ESL.

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