Summit Partners and TA Associates Catch Bigpoint


COLOGNE, Germany -- Private equity groups Summit Partners and TA Associates have taken majority control of Bigpoint, plumping down $350 million for a 67 percent stake in the German casual gaming group.

NBC Universal's investment arm, Peacock Equity Fund, cashed out on the deal and is no longer a shareholder in Bigpoint. NBC owner General Electric and investor GMT Communications sold most of their shares and will retain only just 2.5 percent of Bigpoint.

Company founder Heiko Hubertz retains a 30.5 percent stake in his company.

The cash injection should give a further boost to Bigpoint, which boasts 185 million registered online users, making it one of the world's largest online gaming firms.

Bigpoint designs free-to-play online games and makes its money -- a $17.5 million profit in 2009 -- by charging users for extras that assist game play.

The company recently partnered with Electronic Arts to bring its Play4Free games like Lord of Ultima to a global audience and it has several online games based on NBC Universal brands including Battlestar Galactica and The Mummy.

Bigpoint is already a European giant. With today's capital boost, it plans to stamp its imprint onto the U.S. market.

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