Video Game Investment Banking / PE / VC

What are some of the top sellside and buyside players in the video game / digital media space? Very interested in both video games and digital entertainment (Netflix). My current understanding of the financial landscape - please let me know if I'm off on any of these: 

Investment Banking:

  • LionTree
  • Raine
  • Aream 
  • Morgan Stanley - Media & Communications 
  • Barclays - Communications & Media
  • PJT Partners - hired former CSO of Activision Blizzard to LA office 
  • Goldman Sachs - video game advisory group within TMT

PE / VC/HF

  • Insight Partners
  • Griffin Gaming Partners - partnered with LionTree
  • Ashler Capital - video game & internet group 

Otherwise, information on the space seems quite sparse - if anyone has any direct experiences or information, it would be appreciated. 

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Comments (16)

  • Analyst 2 in PE - LBOs
Nov 22, 2021 - 11:18pm

How good is Barclays C&M in general, also? Both comms and media side?

I think I've seen video game stuff a lot from MoCo. Some from MS LA and I am not too sure much from the others other than 1 off because it isn't the biggest space I don't think nor are there too many big names

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 23, 2021 - 10:05am

Think that makes sense - there's a big disconnect between inventors / content creators and financiers in the video game / digital media space. Very much a strategics-driven field from what I can see with a lot of non-banked processes involving larger corps buying basically one-off studios with 1 game in their portfolio. 

No clue about Barc C&M unfortunately. 

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 24, 2021 - 3:55am

PJT has a track record in the space - they also hired the former head of strategy at Activision Blizzard

Most Helpful
Nov 24, 2021 - 8:44am

Maybe I sound like an old millennial but I really despise how much micro-transactions are being done in gaming. I'd imagine a lot of this has to do with PE/VC funds investing and a lot of finance/business minds joining the industry like Bobby Kotick (despise him as a person but business wise, he's done a lot of intelligent strategic moves that have made him a very wealthy man, $500M+). Anyone else miss the days of the late 2000s/early 2010s? So many good sports/FPS games back then (COD MW series + Black Ops, NBA 2k10-2k12, also mid-late 2000s college football/Madden were fire)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2021 - 4:22pm

Rise of microtransactions has nothing to do with PE/VC activity (which remains extremely limited in the area). It was just a natural evolution of video game monetization in the era of subscriptions / software. 

I think you have some rose-tinted nostalgia glasses on, tbh. I wouldn't go far as to say it's the golden era of video games, but there's orders of magnitude more options for consumers now. As good as the original MW was, it's objectively a worse player experience than the new MW (can't comment on Cold War or Vanguard). Beyond that, there's literally thousands of amazing indie / small games that were relatively inaccessible back in the day to the broader audience. 

Nov 24, 2021 - 7:11pm

Micro transactions sustain the freemium model, which has the lowest barriers to entry for new players. For me best part of gaming has always been playing with friends and it's a lot easier to do that when you do not each have to spend $60 to get a quality game.

Nov 25, 2021 - 11:17am

VC / growth universe, no particular order:

  • London VP
  • Elysian Park Ventures
  • Sapphire Ventures
  • Bitkraft
  • Juno Cap
  • Galaxy Interactive
  • Xiaomi Ventures
  • Intel Cap (more on the infrastructure side)
  • LEGO Ventures
  • Courtside
  • Hiro Cap
  • Makers Fund
  • Causeway Media 

Gaming is often covered by strategic players, here the top dogs:

  • Bytedance
  • Tencent
  • NetEase
  • Baidu
  • MTG

... any many more.

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Nov 25, 2021 - 10:17pm

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