The largest Eastern European computer and video game publisher, 1C Company, agreed to acquire BUKA, a leading Russian computer game publisher, distributor and developer, for estimated $80 million from private equity investors Finam and Norum as well as BUKA‘s founders. Prior to acquisition, 1C was a long-term publishing and distribution partner to BUKA. As a result, the two companies will hold more than 40% share of the Russian game publishing and distribution market valued at $400 million per year.
BUKA generated revenues of $35 million and EBITDA of $10 million in 2007. The financial services and investment group, Finam, together with private equity fund manager, Norum, acquired a 52.9% majority stake in BUKA in June 2005 for an estimated $6 million, when Finam obtained a 26.5% stake in BUKA and Norum – 26.4% stake.
BUKA, which was founded in 1993, has 250 employees. BUKA published games Far Cry, Half Life series, War Hammer 40,000: Dawn of Warfrom from Western publishers including THQ, Ubisoft, Valve, Codemasters, Lesta Studio, Targem, and CDV. BUKA also publishes its own titles Hard Truck series, Pacific Storm and the upcoming “Collapse”.
1C Company specializes in distribution, publishing and development of business, entertainment and educational software. Founded in 1991 as an accounting software vendor, 1C has become the largest publisher and distributor of computer and video games in Eastern and Central Europe.
According to eMarketer, Russia is going to become the 2nd largest Internet population in Europe by the end of 2008. The Russian internet advertising market is expected to double to $0.7 billion in 2008. Finam also invested in a leading casual games developer in Russia, Alawar Entertainment, in 2007.
In May 2008, Mangrove Capital Partners invested into a Russian in-game advertising company EnterMedia.