Russian internet giant Mail.ru has announced that it’s acquiring esports company ESforce in a deal worth at least $ 100 million.
ESforce is the holding company for a number of esports-related brands, including esports communities SK Gaming and Virtus.pro, of which the latter received a $ 100 million investment from one of Russia’s richest oligarchs a few years back.
Esports, or video game competitions that are often streamed online to the world, is a $ 700 million industry, with reports indicating that it could become a $ 2.5 billion market by 2020. As such, Amazon snapped up game-streaming platform Twitch for around $ 1 billion back in 2014, while a few weeks ago Google announced it had invested in Chinese esports company Chushou.
Mail.ru’s deal involves the company paying out $ 100 million in cash, less any outstanding debt, with an additional performance-related payment to come at the end of 2018, according to a press release.
ESforce claimed that it had 116 million users in 2017, with an estimated revenue of around $ 19 million — up 150 percent from the year before.