Olswang advises Endemol on $13m partnership with social casino gaming company

18 Dec, 2013

International TMT law firm Olswang has advised Endemol, the world’s largest independent television and digital production company, on its $13m investment in Plumbee, a digital gaming business that creates, operates and markets free-to-play social games on mobile platforms and social networks such as Facebook.  Plumbee’s existing investor, Idinvest Partners, also participated in this round.  The deal values the business at $40 million.

The two companies will create premium social casino games, exploiting Endemol’s global entertainment brands and building on Plumbee’s worldwide user base.  Social casino games are free to play but players can purchase virtual credits in order to unlock more features and get access to upgrades, gifts, bonuses and more.

Since launching in October 2011, Plumbee’s rapid growth has been driven by the success of its flagship game, Mirrorball Slots, which is among the top ten highest grossing social casino games on Facebook.  Co-founded by Chief Executive Officer Raf Keustermans, Chief Operating Officer Gerald Tan and Chief Technology Officer Jodi Moran, Plumbee also has a joint venture with leading online gambling company Unibet, called ‘Bonza Gaming’. The joint venture is behind ‘Bonza Slots’, one of the first ever real-money casino games on Facebook; and more recently has launched ‘Bonza Casino’.

Endemol’s current digital gaming projects include a new initiative to move into app publishing, launching with gaming apps based on hit shows Pointless and Deal or No Deal. Recent successes include The Money Drop second screen game, which has so far had over 30 million games played worldwide; The Million Pound Drop app in the UK, which has had over 2.5 million downloads to date; and a multitude of online and mobile games around the world for the company’s global brands such as Big Brother.

Anne Roest Crollius, Senior legal counsel at Endemol Group, commented: “Social casino gaming is a fast emerging market and one where solid knowledge of how digital and gambling industries operate is key for a deal to succeed.  We’d been working with Olswang on a number of other gambling-related projects and we have now taken advantage of their corporate expertise and experience  in relation to the entering into this partnership with one of the most innovative and dynamic operators in the space.”

Rob Willis, Partner at Olswang, added: “This new partnership will allow Endemol to grow in the digital gaming business and make the most of the strength of its entertainment brands at the same time.  Whatever end of the spectrum you are – whether you are an entertainment, digital, social or gambling company – it’s an exciting time for growth and savvy businesses are moving fast to keep pace.”

The Olswang team was led by Corporate Partner, Rob Willis, who was supported by Senior Associate Edward Heaton together with specialist support from Commercial and Gambling Regulatory Associates Anna Soilleux and Rebecca Platt, Employee Incentives Associate Catherine Merry, Real Estate Associate Tamsin Bernard and Employment Associate Rachel Lafferty.

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