Peak aims high after $1.8 bln acquisition

Peak aims high after $1.8 bln acquisition

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The young and discreet founder and employees of Turkish gaming company Peak are aiming high after its acquisition by U.S. giant Zynga for $1.8 billion.

The Zynga-Peak deal announced on June 1 resembles that of between Pixar and Disney in 2006, according to the Turkish company’s strategy director.

“Pixar is one of the companies we admire and follow with curious eyes. It has been a good role model for us,” Ömer İnönü told daily Hürriyet on June 3.

“The figure is very important, but the more important part for us is it being a call to Turkey in general,” he said.

“We have no difference than other people in Turkey. If we could do it, everyone can. We are young people born, educated, and have grown up in this country … We wished to shout this out all around Turkey. This has been an opportunity to shout it out,” he added.

Peak, which was founded 10 years ago, will continue operating in Istanbul with a 100-strong team. The average age of the company’s staff members is 29.

Its founder, 40-year-old entrepreneur Sidar Şahin shies away from media attention. He previously founded video platform izlesene.com and gaming firms Funpac and Gamegarden. He was also among founders of e-commerce company Trendyol.

He was born to an engineer and a teacher in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, where he took his primary school education. After completing his secondary education in Istanbul, he dropped out of the prestigious Boğaziçi University.

On a short remark about the deal, Şahin said, “both firms share the same vision to gather people through games.”
Separately, İnönü further outlined their future targets in a humble virtual press conference on June 1.

“During the last decade, we reached hundreds of millions of people in 193 countries, and our dream was to reach billions,” he said.

Şahin will continue to manage Peak Games in Istanbul, he added.

The U.S. firm bought the whole of the Turkish company for $1.8 billion – including about $900 million in cash and approximately $900 million in Zynga common stock.

Peak Games reaches 12 million active users daily and it is expected to surge Zynga’s average mobile daily active users by more than 60 percent.

“Peak brings a 100-person strong team and two Forever Franchises, Toon Blast and Toy Blast, that have consistently ranked in the top 10 and top 20 US iPhone grossing games for over two years, respectively,” the US-based firm said in a press release.

“Peak is one of the world’s best puzzle game makers and we could not be more excited to add such creative and passionate talent to our company,” Grank Gibeau, the CEO of Zynga, said.

Zynga, which has 21 million average daily active users and is known for its agriculture-simulation game FarmVille, has been strengthening its hold on the mobile gaming market through acquisitions and licensing agreements with media outlets to publish themed games of popular franchises. It has also bought Peak Games’ mobile card game for $100 million in 2017.

Zynga said it expects to complete the Peak deal in the third quarter. The company also raised its full-year bookings forecast to $1.84 billion from $1.80 billion, which excludes any contribution from the Peak deal.

Germany-based Earlybird Venture Capital said it will exit a $520 million stake in Peak as part of the deal and receive a stake in Nasdaq-listed Zynga.

Angel investors Evren Üçok and Demet Mutlu, London and Antwerp-based Hummingbird Ventures and Şahin are deemed as big winners of the deal.

The historic deal puts Peak among the most valuable companies in Turkey.

Mustafa Varank, Turkey’s industry and technology minister, said Peak Games was the first Turkish unicorn, meaning a startup company valued at over $1 billion.

This acquisition was a milestone for the country’s startup ecosystem, he added.

Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said that the acquisition was a proud moment for Turkey.

Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak noted that this agreement is one of the largest acquisitions in Turkish history.

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