[UPDATE: Activision has made it official and contrary to the below rumor, the full MLG staff will be joining Activision Blizzard. Read official details here.]
Major League Gaming was once the largest eSports company in all of North America, but 2015 hasn’t been a smooth ride for the eSports juggernaut. They took a hit losing out on the Call of Duty World League to their rivals the ESL, and had to hold tight while the eSports world had its first huge drug use controversy. Despite those controversies, ESPN started covering more eSports events, marking a significant milestone in the eSports world for being accepted by a major cable sports channel.
Now just a few days into 2016, it looks like massive changes are afoot for Major League Gaming. Activision Blizzard has reportedly purchased ‘substantially all’ of their assets for 46 million dollars, marking a complete change of ownership for the company that helped grow eSports into the 65,000 seat stadium filling attraction it is today. The company is still building its own 15,000 seat stadium in Hengqin despite being sold to a larger corporate entity.
As per terms of the agreement, MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni seems to have left the company, and is being replaced by the previous CFO of MLG, Greg Chrisholm. Earlier this year, Major League Gaming co-founder Mike Sepso left MLS to join Activision as an executive in their their newly formed eSports division.
The sale notably went through with less than 100% consent from MLS stockholders, meaning several investors didn’t think the move bode well for the eSports tournament organizer and their own stock value, but didn’t ultimately have a say in the sale as per Delaware General Corporation law. The previously mentioned co-founder Mike Sepso was still a stockholder in MLG, though he hasn’t stated whether he was for or against the sale of his old company.
One anonymous stockholder wasn’t afraid to express the non-consensual sale without vulgarity, saying “I got [censored] for stock”. Much of the 46 million dollar acquisition price is reportedly going to pay off existing debts that Major League Gaming has incurred, leaving less to go around for the stockholders who were forced to cash out early. Another investor reported that as a Type B Shareholder, he wasn’t even informed of the sale until after it happened:
I have Series B shares in MLG due to the Gotfrag buyout and I was only notified about this sale earlier today, not sure about others.
— Scott Smith (@SirScoots) January 1, 2016
MLG was founded back in 2002, hosting small Call of Duty and Halo tournaments before branching out into now games more well known for eSports tournaments like StarCraft, DOTA, and League of Legends. The company was in the midst of organizing a Counter-Strike: Go tournament in late March, which may now see some drastic changes.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the new face of Major League Gaming, and if Activision Blizzard may ultimately improve the company as a whole. For the time being, however, we can only say that the Major League Gaming that helped establish the genre itself is now over, and hopefully the future will still feature plenty of quality eSports entertainment.
What do you think about the sale of Major League Gaming to Activision Blizzard, Ranters? Do you think the company will change drastically?