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https://www.boardgamequest.com/asmodee-owners-looking-to-sell-company-for-2-billion-euros/?fbclid=IwAR3J4JrA28SftghpoIVnWFdDHg_0aLmB_9l8EveUhe2Kp-koFC9U2A-sfLA


"There is no larger conglomerate in board gaming than Asmodee. They have gobbled up so many companies that it’s hard to keep track of which publishers they own. Well, today a bombshell of news was dropped by none other than the now-retired publisher of Stronghold Games, Stephen Bounocore. He posted on his Facebook page (and Twitter) this morning that Asmodee is close to being sold by the VC company that owns them.

So far, details have been a bit scarce, but we were able to find some information on the French site Gus & Co. Through a bit of a game of telephone, it appears that the AGEFI (paywall), a French media group specializing in finance, relayed information from Unquote (again, paywall) that PAI Partners have reportedly decided to resell Asmodee.

“PAI Partners is a French investment fund that currently owns Asmodee. They bought it in 2018 for 1.2 billion euros from Eurazeo, another investment fund, which had bought Asmodee in 2014 for around 143 million euros.”

If Pai Partners is able to secure the 2 Billion euros they are seeking for Asmodee, that would represent an 800 Million profit in only 3 years. Pai Partners has reportedly engaged the bank Goldman Sachs and Natixis Partners to help sell Asmodee.

There is no telling how a sale of Asmodee might affect the board game industry. They own so many publishers and even distribute games themselves. Fantasy Flight, Z-Man, Gamegenic, Days of Wonder, Catan, Repos Prod, Lookout, and others are all under the umbrella of Asmodee Games".

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/24 20:27:11


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Wow, big money.

I'm not really into the whole board game scene so don't know if Asmodee is worth 2 billion Euros or not.

Still, if they are worth that much I'm not sure who's going to want to raise that kind of money to acquire them. Even Hasbro would struggle to make that kind of investment.

Whatever happens hopefully the future of their products is safe.
   
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El Torro wrote:
Whatever happens hopefully the future of their products is safe.
The future of various products wasn't exactly safe with the current lot in charge to be honest. That said, I'm not sure if things will improve in the hands of a new investment firm looking to make some tidy millions before selling everything again a few years down the line. It's a shame, because the games deserve better.
   
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Jeez we are a tiny industry aren't we? 2 billion for practically every office in the world that designs board games. It's less than what one guy, one single guy, got for selling Minecraft, one computer game.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/24 21:37:26


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 lord_blackfang wrote:
Jeez we are a tiny industry aren't we? 2 billion for practically every office in the world that designs board games. It's less than what one guy, one single guy, got for selling Minecraft, one computer game.


They realized the merchandizing potential of Minecraft. You could furnish a house will all Minecraft product at this points - it's insane.

   
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Yeah even within Video games Minecraft is a total fluke. Even more so for being a tiny design team coupled to almost no marketing budget to speak of. The likes of CoD have to spend millions to enjoy those kinds of sales (though I'm sure MS is marketing Minecraft now of course).


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 Coenus Scaldingus wrote:
El Torro wrote:
Whatever happens hopefully the future of their products is safe.
The future of various products wasn't exactly safe with the current lot in charge to be honest. That said, I'm not sure if things will improve in the hands of a new investment firm looking to make some tidy millions before selling everything again a few years down the line. It's a shame, because the games deserve better.


My big curiosity is will LFL keep the lisence with Asmodee for their SW stuff when the lience comes due in a eyar or two

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BGG's long been assuming this since Asmodee started. Asmodee's strategy seems to be to take the best-selling game of a company and ignore the rest, although FFG didn't exactly follow that model. Then Asmodee presents the lot to mass market big box stores (and presumably Amazon), who have a single point of contact to stock their shelves for an adult boardgame market.

Some BGG'ers gnash that this means a decline in boardgames in the hobby market, but then some BGG'ers dislike KS, which has a slew of new designers creating games. I don't have any strong opinion about Asmodee, since I'm more interested in miniatures than boardgames.

https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-rapid-growth-of-board-games-market-faces-pandemic-hurdles/a-56370700
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2730280/article/38521181

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Mississippi

The only thing's that's for sure is if someone does buy, costs will go up and "underproducing" games will disappear.

I find it odd they aren't selling off some parts to downsize and apparently want to overturn the entire company - sounds like possibly hard times for the owners?

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That or perhaps after a bumper year of boardgame sales (I assume based on other geeky hobbies and such) they think that this year isn't going to be beat in a long while so they are hoping to make as big a sale as they can and retire etc...

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It was always likely that Asmodee would be 'flipped' given that's the business model of the current owners who aren't in it (or anything else) for the long term

the big question is whether any other investment fund (i'm really unconvinced any more long term investor would be interested especially at that price) will bite in the current climate

if they don't that's were potential trouble starts as the current owners will likely look to make it 'more attractive' which tends to mean cutting costs & staff even further

 
   
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 OrlandotheTechnicoloured wrote:
It was always likely that Asmodee would be 'flipped' given that's the business model of the current owners who aren't in it (or anything else) for the long term

the big question is whether any other investment fund (i'm really unconvinced any more long term investor would be interested especially at that price) will bite in the current climate

if they don't that's were potential trouble starts as the current owners will likely look to make it 'more attractive' which tends to mean cutting costs & staff even further


I genuinely wonder if GW’s strong performance over the past few years might factor in?

I mean, they went from a dodgy year or two of just breaking even at best, returning to profit, and then absolutely killing it, even pre-pandemic. If GW can increase their bottom line, who’s to say the current contents of Asmodee can’t be harnessed in that way.

Not me, but then I confess to knowing two thirds of fifty percent of a quarter of eff all about this sort of thing.

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GW is also a freak in its own market. It's one of the few (if only?) major geeky market products, in the west at least, which has its own retail chain. Almost everything else in the miniature and boardgame market relies upon 3rd party stores and direct online sales only to generate income and (most importantly) attract new customers.

Granted if you own the majority of board games you're at least reducing competition ,but at the same time you're still reliant on 3rd parties pushing and promoting your product lines.


GW has huge growth potential in part because they can ensure new customers who walk through their shop doors have a greater chance of taking up their hobby.

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 Overread wrote:
GW is also a freak in its own market. It's one of the few (if only?) major geeky market products, in the west at least, which has its own retail chain. Almost everything else in the miniature and boardgame market relies upon 3rd party stores and direct online sales only to generate income and (most importantly) attract new customers.

Granted if you own the majority of board games you're at least reducing competition ,but at the same time you're still reliant on 3rd parties pushing and promoting your product lines.


GW has huge growth potential in part because they can ensure new customers who walk through their shop doors have a greater chance of taking up their hobby.


Also Asmodee isn't likely to be seen as a direct GW compeitor, I suspect mini gaming is a very small percentage of their product line

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/27 17:39:39


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Halifax

Given the current supply chain kerfuffle it's almost crazy to ask that much for an industry that is experiencing such problems in both shipping finished products and receiving supplies to make the products.

   
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UK

At the same time almost every industry is in the same boat right now. Heck the UK is having fuel and food shortages simply due to logistics of moving stuff around.

It is an issue, but its one that practically everything is experiencing right now. It's also something that "should" clear itself up in a few years.

The key is that even with that upset, the board games should have sold really well. Ergo for what stock they have and distributed, a good percentage should have sold and estimated sales based on projections for the future should be, overall, healthy. As I said earlier this should be one of the best times to sell up because the most recent, current and future projections are sales should be the highest in a long while.

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the biggest issue with a lot of companies like this is "do people think this growth will continue?" I'd argue it'll depend on some things. with board games? maybe no, but "hobbies" (be they mini wargames, puzzles etc) will likely do quite well as people who discovered the hobby will continue into it. I mean my mom and dad have started doing puzzles over covid, and even as restrictions ehre ease show no sign of easing up. for them it's a hobby

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> The only thing's that's for sure is if someone does buy, costs will go up and "underproducing" games will disappear.
> I find it odd they aren't selling off some parts to downsize and apparently want to overturn the entire company - sounds like possibly hard times for the owners?

fwiw, That's actually Asmodee's business model with these boardgame companies. Costs sorta went up b/c Asmodee implemented a MAPP policy, although larger sellers (I think Amazon, Walmart, Target) were exempted, I think b/c these big box retailers were more powerful than Asmodee (and hobby stores aren't). While Asmodee didn't sell off companies it acquired, they were certainly downsized (by only selling the best-selling games), some to the point where they weren't releasing new games.

Only good side is that the barrier to entry into the boardgame market is low, particularly with KS. I follow game designers, not game companies (other than RGG) and I do see game designers I'm familiar resurface with different game companies, although I *think* most of them were freelance in the first place.


> "do people think this growth will continue?"

Reminds me of when WotC acquired the Pokemon CCG license, then Hasbro acquired them -- just as the Pokemon CCG started becoming less popular. I *think* Hasbro nearly discontinued D&D or something. Certainly the OGL and shorter time between new editions were attempts to keep D&D afloat.

https://www.belloflostsouls.net/2020/12/dd-is-hasbro-preparing-to-sell-wotc-icv2-seems-to-think-so.html



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yeah you could see habro's fingerprints at work with WOTC a few times. both SWSE and 4Th edition D&D where clearly designed to enchourage the use of miniatures. this was because the design work had been doing during the heyday of CMGs. although by time 4E came out the bottem had fallen out of that market

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BrianDavion wrote:
the biggest issue with a lot of companies like this is "do people think this growth will continue?" I'd argue it'll depend on some things. with board games? maybe no, but "hobbies" (be they mini wargames, puzzles etc) will likely do quite well as people who discovered the hobby will continue into it. I mean my mom and dad have started doing puzzles over covid, and even as restrictions ehre ease show no sign of easing up. for them it's a hobby


Isn't the problem that it's not a simple in or out question? Even if tabletop gaming gains long term popularity as a hobby with new people, when things do go back to normal so will people's habits, which takes time and money away from the new hobby. Probably not to the extent that everyone who got into it drops out again, but if you were to acquire Asmodee, you'd have to assume that the Covid bubble is over and try to figure out if increased sales due to improved production/shipping capacity compensates for the loss of sales from people slowing down.

I'm hardly an expert, but I imagine that is not a question that is easily answered. Without the prospect of ongoing growth it doesn't seem like an attractive time to buy the company. Just to sell it.

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Exactly, if anything board game growth will be a bit like the dog pet market. A bubble that grew over the pandemic, but which will burst once the pandemic is mostly over and people are back to normal. It might well last somewhat longer because whilst people are going back to work they aren't going out for fun as much right now; so board games might still dominate the evenings and such in households more than they did.

I would expect boardgames and such to have a bigger market post pandemic than pre pandemic, but can I see growth being sustained. That's a hard one especially for people looking to spend big money who will want big returns on investment.

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The other big difference, of course, is that a dog is for life, not just during a pandemic - whereas it is acceptable for a boardgame to be the other way around.

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This is, emphatically, why I will continue suggesting nuking Guard and starting over again. It's a legacy army that needs to be rebooted with a new focal point.

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People in the L5R and Arkham Horror circle have seen this coming for years. A lot of the decisions made the past couple of years only make sense as a company being groomed to be sold off.

   
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and just to reassure potential investors further

https://www.asmodeena.com/en/news/2021/9/3/Price-Increases-All-Channels/

'All Channels

Roseville, MN – September 3, 2021. Asmodee USA announced that effective October 1, 2021, titles in their distribution library from Atomic Mass Games and Fantasy Flight Games will receive a MSRP price increase across all channels. Products impacted can be found here, and price increases vary by product.

These price changes are due to the dramatic increase in raw material and transportation costs in the past year. These increases to costs and MSRP across Atomic Mass Games and Fantasy Flight Games ensure Asmodee USA can continue to offer excellence in service across distribution, sales, and marketing.

Retailers can order the affected titles at their current cost and MSRP until September 30, 2021. This is the “last chance to buy” at the current prices before the increases take effect on October 1, 2021. Orders placed during this time are subject to Asmodee USA’s discretion and allocation policies.
'
(although to be fair it's probably at least in part due to increased shipping costs)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/28 13:41:13


 
   
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And all of a sudden I'm just that little bit happier that in complete ignorance and for entirely unrelated reasons I bought a clanker army for Legion earlier today.

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 Stormonu wrote:
The only thing's that's for sure is if someone does buy, costs will go up and "underproducing" games will disappear.



Not really. The last time Asmodee traded hands was when the underproducing really started (which isn't to say it wasn't an issue prior, but it went from only impacting a select few products to virtually all their products after the purchase). ROI was the goal for PAI Partners, they wanted to recover the cost of the purchase as quickly as possible, which meant aggressive cost-cutting in order to secure higher profit margins and thus a faster ROI. They cut those costs in part by eliminating warehousing and on-hand inventory which meant order sizes were reduced in order to push the games into the revolving door of distribution as rapidly as possible in order to minimize overhead. This had the added benefit of ensuring that, at least as far as Asmodee and PAI were concerned, they essentially guaranteed a 100% day-1 return on all their production orders as everything was essentially paid for by distributors and retailers instead of sitting on their own shelves.

I find it odd they aren't selling off some parts to downsize and apparently want to overturn the entire company - sounds like possibly hard times for the owners?


Nah, Asmodee and the board game industry are basically at an inflated COVID peak right now, its a good time to sell before the house of cards comes tumbling down. Again, ensuring maximized ROI, they're going to take the money and dump it into something else that will make them more than holding Asmodee for another 2-3 years would be able to. Parting up the company involves more work and costs and decreases the value of the rest of the organization. Beyond that, those aggressive cost-cutting measures I mentioned previously significantly reduces the value of the parts as the company has become very heavily centralized - all the IP is now controlled and/or owned by Asmodee directly and in use for products across the organization - all that IP is essentially non-transferrable by law (Asmodee doesn't own the Star Wars board game license, for example - they can't just part that out and transfer it to another company, Lucasfilm/Disney would need to approve that exchange) or as a simple matter of practicality (good luck selling AMG with the Marvel and Star Wars licenses while FFG and other Asmodee studios are also producing Marvel and Star Wars licensed products).

And while the studios themselves can design games, they can't do anything else with them as all the production and manufacturing and supply chain work, etc. is handled by Asmodee. Even a lot (but not all) of the art, illustration, graphic design, and sculpting type work has been centralized through Asmodee and almost all of it is done by Freelancers (even a lot of the game design work in the cases of some studios), which means that a prospective buyer isn't really getting much value by buying the studio, they aren't adding any real talent to their payrolls or acquiring specialized/tribal knowledge that they wouldn't have access to elsewhere, they would essentially be buying an office of managers who exist to build and manage IP owned by Asmodee proper, remove them from Asmodee and you have well-qualified and experienced paper-pushers. At that point it would be easier and cheaper to headhunt the staff directly than buy the studio.

Given the current supply chain kerfuffle it's almost crazy to ask that much for an industry that is experiencing such problems in both shipping finished products and receiving supplies to make the products.


Its an almost universal problem at this point that isn't unique to any particular industry (and even in spite of that they are still hitting their numbers). They are banking on people taking the risk that the upward trend of profits and revenues will continue and perhaps even launch like a rocket once supply chain woes straighten out vs what seems to be the more likely scenario of the market imploding under its own weight.

 LordofHats wrote:
People in the L5R and Arkham Horror circle have seen this coming for years. A lot of the decisions made the past couple of years only make sense as a company being groomed to be sold off.


Everyone saw this coming for years, the moment PAI purchased Asmodee in 2018. This is literally what PAI does - buy a company, aggressively cost-cut and reshape the business (until its a hollowed-out shell of its former self) to reduce operating costs and "unlock value" in order to make the books look good, and then flip it for a profit before prospective buyers realize that they are being sold a lemon that will cost them a small fortune to keep going because the company was positioned for short-term success at the expense of a long-term future and has major structural deficiencies which are patched over with Papier-mâché and held together with duct tape and chewing gum. Everything that L5R and Arkham players (and pretty much anyone else who played an Asmodee owned lifestyle game, such as Legion/X-Wing/Armada, etc or was a long term fan of an Asmodee franchise/IP) experienced these changes and were impacted by these measures in one way or another.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/28 14:57:53


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A genuine question.

Given how much Asmodee has hoovered up over the past few years, would any prospective buyer need to consider the impact of monopoly/anti-competition laws?

Note I am not accusing Asmodee of its owners of anything here. Monopoly and anti-competition laws vary from country to country, and owning a lot of stuff does not a monopoly make in itself.

But it is something I’m genuinely curious about.

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Probably not, as its unlikely that a prospective buyer would already be operating in the tabletop and board gaming industry. The most likely buyer (perhaps unfortunately) is probably going to be another investment firm or holding company that wants to add this to a portfolio of otherwise mostly unrelated firms. Within the tabletop gaming industry, there basically isn't anyone large enough to afford Asmodee - even GW wouldn't be able to do so without significant financing terms and disproportionate amounts of debt.

The only business I can think of thats already in the industry that would be able to do it would be Hasbro or Mattel.

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Yeah and GW won't take on debt in general/at all. So 2 billion is WAY outside of what they've likely got in the bank to play with. For GW one of their repeat strengths has been the lack of loans/major investors sitting over them.




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It’s also not GW’s own market. Yes they do have board games, and licensed board games. But the joy of licenses is you get your license money, plus whatever contractural cut you’re entitled to, and then (aside from something truly botched damaging your IP), you’re just not exposed to any risk.

That’s very different to going out on a limb and getting involved in that market yourself.

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