Savvy Gaming Group buys ESL and FACEIT for $1.5 billion

The company has financial support linked to the Public Investment Fund of the government of Saudi Arabia

Through a press release, ESL and FACEIT announced that they are teaming up to elevate the esports landscape. The two companies have acquired by Savvy Gaming Group, a gaming company that has financial backing from the government of Saudi Arabia, led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salma.

The company used Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF), the same one that enabled the acquisition of Premier League club Newcastle (England’s top football league) at the end of last year.

The purchase values

Famous for creating CS: GO, Rainbow Six Siege, and Dota 2 tournaments, the former Electronic Sports League is one of the most popular organizers in the eSports industry in the world.

Before the sale, the organizer was under the command of the Swedish company Modern Times Group, which acquired ESL in 2014 for €78 million. To buy ESL individually, Savvy spent US$ 1 billion.

FACEIT, an e-sport competition platform, was purchased for US$500 million.

Ready for the next chapter

Savvy’s CEO is Brian Ward, former senior vice president of Activision Blizzard, which was recently acquired by Microsoft. Ward states that SSG promises to strengthen the landscape of the global esports community, developing a better experience for players and fans.

The CEOs of the two companies sold also commented on the new investment.

Craig Levine, Executive Director of ESL said, “Our mission remains unchanged: to create a world where everyone can be someone. Our merger with FACEIT, together with the support of SGG, will give us more knowledge, capabilities, and resources than ever before to fulfill this vision.”

Meanwhile, Niccolo Maisto, CEO of FACEIT, revealed: “In recent years, ESL and FACEIT have had a significant positive impact on the growth of the esports industry, bringing a variety of proposals to players, teams, publishers, and developers. By bringing these complementary resources together and with the support of SGG, we are taking a long-term approach to develop a more robust platform to better support the future of the entire competitive gaming ecosystem and generate more value for all stakeholders in a sustainable way.”

Despite already informing fans about the merger and sale, the agreement to create the new company of US$ 1.5 billion, which will bear the name “ESL FACEIT Group,” still depends on the approval of regulatory bodies, which should happen still this year.

ESL was founded in December 1997 in Germany. The European company is one of the leaders in the market of organizing eSports championships. Over its long history, the corporation has held many events for CS: GO, Dota 2, PUBG, and other games.

In early January, ESL extended its cooperation with CS: GO partner teams. These include Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, and Astralis. The agreement is signed until 2025. The company’s next event will be ESL Pro League Season 15.

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Author: Ronnie Neal