Esports investment report, June 2021: Complexity Gaming, Team BDS, VSPN

Investment news in June 2021 highlighted some major changes within the esports world, including everything from the introduction of a future LEC team or another esports organisation becoming publicly listed.

Every month, Esports Insider compiles a list of the month’s key investment stories. To read more about a story below, click the link in the corresponding title.

Before we jump into the rundown, The Clutch is back! The fifth edition of Esports Insider’s pitch investment competition which sees esports start-ups pitch live to a panel of judges, investors and an audience of industry delegates too, will take place as a part of ESI Digital Summer, across 8-9th September.

Applications are open now, and you can find out more here.

Spotlighted Story:

Tencent’s Huya and Douyu merger blocked by Chinese regulator

Logo credit HUYA

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has officially blocked the planned merger of streaming services Huya and Douyu.

The merger of the Tencent-backed services, which was first announced in October 2020, has been denied on ‘antitrust grounds’, according to a report by Reuters. As a result of the merger no longer occurring, DouYu has terminated its $5.3bln Huya deal.

GameSquare Esports acquires Complexity Gaming for $27m

From left to right: Travis Goff (Goff Capital President), John Goff (Goff Capital Founder), Stephen Jones (Dallas Cowboys COO/EVP), Justin Kenna (GameSquare CEO), Jason Lake (Complexity CEO) and Tom Walker (Dallas Cowboys CFO). Photo Credit: David Higgs

North American esports organisation Complexity Gaming has been acquired by GameSquare Esports, the parent company of esports agency Code Red Esports.

The acquisition will cost a total of $27m (~ £19.5m) in an all-stock transaction. As a result, Complexity’s current ownership group will become ‘major shareholders’ of GameSquare Esports.

Schalke 04 LEC spot sold to Team BDS for €26.5m

German football club Schalke 04 has completed the sale of its League of Legends European Championship (LEC) licence to Swiss esports organisation Team BDS.

According to the announcement by Schalke 04 Esports, the spot will be sold at the end of the Summer Split 2021 for €26.5m (~£22.8m). The news about Schalke 04 potentially looking to sell its LEC spot were confirmed by the organisation earlier in February.

VSPN announces ‘multi-million’ funding round

Credit: VSPN

Chinese esports solutions provider Versus Programming Network (VSPN) has announced a ‘multi-million’ Series B2 funding round from an investment fund managed by Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA).

According to the release, the investment will aid the expansion of VSPN’s overseas business and the development of the company’s esports content matrix, VSPN+. The amount raised during the Series B2 funding round has not been revealed.

Unified announces Challengers Uprising acquisition

Image credit: Unified / Challengers Uprising

North American esports tournament operator Unified has announced the acquisition of amateur esports platform Challengers Uprising.

Founded on June 1st, 2020, Challengers Uprising has become a breakout tournament organiser within the League of Legends North American amateur scene. Financial details regarding the acquisition were not revealed. 

GamerzClass closes $2.5m seed round bringing total to $4.2m

Image credit: GamerzClass

Danish esports training provider GamerzClass has completed a $2.5m (~£1.79m) seed round led by venture fund byFounders.

Other investors include Ben Holmes, formerly of GP Index Ventures, who invested in King and Playfish, and Morten Wulf, Founder of GameAnalytics with support from existing investors Bumble Ventures and TrueSight Ventures. The seed round brings total investments to $4.2m.

OneTeam Partners acquires esports and gaming agency Theorycraft

Credit: OneTeam / Theorycraft

North American professional athlete agency OneTeam Partners (OneTeam) has announced the acquisition of esports and gaming-focused advisory firm Theorycraft.

As part of the acquisition, Theorycraft’s Co-founders, Lauren Gaba Flanagan and Nathen McVittie, will be integrated into OneTeam.

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