Activision Blizzard Inc. of Santa Monica has purchased most of the assets of e-sports league Major League Gaming for $46 million, according to shareholder documents obtained by blog eSports Observer.
MLG’s e-sports broadcasting platform and professional e-sports tournaments will now operate as part of Activision Blizzard Media Networks, which was launched in October as part of the company’s continued push into the e-sports sector.
“Our acquisition of Major League Gaming’s business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of e-sports,” Activision Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said in a statement. “MLG’s ability to create premium content and its proven broadcast technology platform – including its live streaming capabilities – strengthens our strategic position in competitive gaming.”
An early pioneer in facilitating e-sports tournaments, Major League Gaming of New York had built several e-sports arenas and broadcasted tournaments online for video games such as Star Craft, Halo and Call of Duty.
However, despite raising more than $69 million in venture capital, MLG had hit some roadblocks. In October, company co-founder Mike Sepso left to join Activision’s new e-sports division as senior vice president and MLG lost event hosting rights to Activision’s hugely popular Call of Duty franchise.
The asset sale was approved by MLG’s Series A and Series B stockholders, but not later-stage investors, some of whom reportedly were upset by the terms of the sale.
Activision has been building up its e-sports business over the last several years. In 2013, Activision purchased the assets of e-sports league IGN Pro League for an undisclosed amount. In April, the company launched Heroes of the Dorm, a collegiate e-sports tournament televised on ESPN2.
While Activision shares fell nearly 3 percent on Monday to close at $37.62 on the Nasdaq, its stock price rose 18 cents for a .5 percent gain in after-hours trading once the company released a statement acknowledging its purchase of MLG.
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