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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

UBI SOFT ACQUIRES BLUE BYTE

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. 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, 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.”

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