Ubi Soft Acquires Blue Byte

 

UBI
SOFT ACQUIRES BLUE BYTE, A LEADING GERMAN PUBLISHER OF VIDEO GAMES

 

PARIS,
France (February 8, 2001) Ubi Soft, a global leader in the field of
interactive entertainment, today announced the acquisition of a major German
video game firm, Blue Byte Software.

 

Blue
Byte is behind two of the most popular series in the history of video games in
Germany: The Settlers Series® and The Battle Isle Series(tm). The Settlers
Series® is a well-known economic strategy simulation. Sales figures for the
latest in the series, TheSettlers III, topped 700,000 in the German market
alone. A total of 2.7 million units in the series has been sold worldwide. The
next installment in the series, The Settlers IV, will be released on 15
February 2001. There are already a large number of pre-release orders,
pointing to sales of 300,000 copies as soon as it comes out, in the
German-speaking territories alone. The Battle Isle Series(tm), which features
futuristic combat strategy, has sold a total of 650,000 units worldwide. Blue
Byte is also the creator of Great Courts, the first tennis simulation that can
be played online and over the internet.

 

Blue
Byte, one of the pioneers of video games in Germany, was founded in 1988 by
the current head of the company, Thomas Hertzler. The company develops,
publishes and distributes video games, mainly in PC format. It operates in
three countries: Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, and has a
workforce of 64 people. Blue Byte is the only German publisher to have
launched a portal for online gaming, The Blue Byte Game Channel, which brings
together a huge community of online players. In 2000, total sales for Blue
Byte came to 9.5 million euros. The expected success of The Settlers IV should
push sales up to about 16.5 million euros between now and March 2002. The
company’s business plan currently projects total annual sales in the
medium-term of over 20 million euros.

 

This
acquisition will be consolidated into the Ubi Soft accounts as of 6 February
2001, and will have a positive impact on the group’s results in 2001.

This
transaction is in keeping with Ubi Soft’s strategy of selective acquisitions.
It adds two new very well known names to the Group’s broad range of games for
players of all ages. Ubi Soft aims to make The Settlers and The Battle Isle
global leaders and develop them on a variety of other platforms, including
PlayStation® 2, Game Cube…In addition, this move will bring new expertise
to the group in the field of strategic games, and will strengthen its
production capabilities with the addition of a German team. Following its
expansion in the United States with the acquisition of Red Storm Entertainment
of Morrisville, North Carolina in August 2000, Ubi Soft now assumes a leading
position in Germany, which is the second largest PC market in the world, and,
in terms of all platforms, the 4th largest. Video game sales in Germany
totalled more than 1.3 billion euros in 2000 (source: Media Control).
Moreover, Germany is a favoured route to Eastern Europe, which represents a
market for the future. This acquisition will permit Ubi Soft to move from the
#10 to the #5 position among video game publishers in Germany.

 

Thomas
Hertzler, founder and head of Blue Byte, stated: "I am convinced that
this operation is the right choice for the future of Blue Byte. I have
complete confidence in Ubi Soft’s capacity to safeguard the unique features of
our games. Ubi Soft’s backing will help make our products better known because
it will allow them to be adapted quickly to new generation consoles."

 

Yves
Guillemot, President and CEO of Ubi Soft, added: "I am particularly happy
with this acquisition. Germany is the country par excellence of strategy
games, and Blue Byte’s teams are the leading specialists in the field. Our
goal is to invest in Blue Byte and to make available to them any tool they
need to extend the influence of their leading products. Together we will
endeavour to see to it that, having garnered such enormous success in Europe,
these wonderful games will soon captivate players around the world."

 

This
acquisition confirms Ubi Soft’s strategy of acquiring medium sized business
structures to complete its internal production forces. Just one more step in
bringing Ubi Soft closer to its goal of being one of the top publishers in the
world in 2005.

 

About
Ubi SoftEntertainment Ubi Soft Entertainment is an international producer,
publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products. A leading
company in the multimedia industry, Ubi Soft’s strong and diversified lineup
has grown considerably, as has Ubi Soft itself. As well as steadfastly
continuing to partner with several high-profile companies, Ubi Soft has also
confirmed its presence on the global market by developing its own exceptional
properties. Founded in 1986 in France, Ubi Soft is now present on every
continent, both through offices in 18 different countries including the United
States, Brazil, Morocco, Germany and China and through sales of products in a
total of 52 countries. The group is dedicated to delivering high-quality,
cutting-edge video game titles to consumers around the world. Ubi Soft
generated a turnover of FF 1.2 billion for the 1999/2000 fiscal year, up 40.7%
from the previous year, and enjoyed a net consolidated income of FF 71.8
million, up 75.2% over 98/99. To learn more, visit www.ubisoft.com.

 

Press
contact: Ubi Soft Entertainment: Cassie Vogel, [email protected] www.ubisoft.com.