Disney to Sell Fox Video Game Division to Scopely

Star Trek Fleet Command-Scopely Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Scopely

The company is selling the FoxNext video game development studio to the Culver City-based mobile game developer.

The Walt Disney Company continues to “de-Fox” its holdings.

The company is selling the FoxNext video game development studio, including Aftershock LA Studios and Cold Iron Studios, to Scopely, the Culver City-based mobile game developer.

Terms of the agreement were not immediately available, but U.S. regulators signed off on the deal this month, according to a Hart-Scott-Rodino Act notice published by the Federal Trade Commission. In October, Scopely announced that it had raised $200 million in strategic financing "to accelerate the company’s M&A and investment strategy." The new funding round valued the company at $1.7 billion.

“I’m extremely proud of what our talented team at FoxNext Games has built and accomplished in just a few years, and look forward to joining forces with the impressive team at Scopely, who have a well-deserved reputation as one of the preeminent companies in the free-to-play games arena,” said Aaron Loeb, FoxNext Games President.

LionTree Advisors is acting as financial adviser to Disney, with Moelis & Company acting as financial adviser to Scopely.

Disney put FoxNext on the market last fall, after acquiring it with the rest of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets in March. The company has since removed the Fox name from its film studios, now called 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. It also sold off the former Fox regional sports networks as part of an agreement with the Department of Justice.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said early last year that the company was moving away from developing games in-house, preferring to license its IP to established outside studios. The deal to divest the Fox gaming studios to Scopely furthers that strategic goal.

Scopely, best known for its mobile game Star Trek: Fleet Command, passed $1 billion in revenue last year. The company also develops games based on other entertainment IP, including The Walking Dead, Wheel of Fortune and the WWE. FoxNext currently has games under development based on the Avatar and Alien franchises.

The acquisition does not include the separate portfolio of Fox IP licensed games titles, which will continue to be a part of Disney’s licensed games business.

Last September, Scopely hired Justin Scarpone from Disney's Asia Games division to lead its own efforts in the region.