Schilling, UBS i-bankers shill for new 38 Studios investorsJuly 13th, 2011 at 9:38 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
Curt Schilling moved 38 Studios to Rhode Island in return for a $75 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan. But that doesn’t mean he’s given up on convincing private investors to put money into his gaming startup.
The investment banking arm of Swiss financial giant UBS has started circulating a “brief teaser” to drum up interest in a “pre-IPO fund raise” for 38 Studios, The Boston Globe’s Scott Kirsner reports.
The document includes some ambitious forecasts, according to Kirsner. UBS says 38 Studios will generate more than $100 million in revenue next year and be “extremely profitable” by 2013.
Kirsner describes the “pre-IPO” language as “quite a stretch for a company that has yet to release its first game.” 38 Studios’ first title, “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” is due out in the first quarter of next year; its second, the massively multiplayer title “Project Copernicus,” is due in the fourth quarter. The latter’s development is being funded with the Rhode Island loan.
The Wall Street Journal’s Venture Capital Dispatch blog followed up on Kirsner’s item with its own take:
Privately, many venture capitalists that we talked to over the years about Schilling’s ambitious endeavor have rolled their eyes, saying they’d never invest in a hit-driven business. That’s especially true in this era of social gaming, in which companies like Zynga can build games cheaply and quickly. … Further, these VC said Schilling wasn’t willing to give up much control of the company. The case study said Schilling owned 82.5% of the company’s stock.
We’re unsure which, if any, venture firms would lend a hand, but if much of the development risk is out, Schilling might have a strong case. And hedge funds and mutual funds are swarming to Web companies right now, especially if this company really is pre-IPO (though also pre-revenue).
“Reckoning” has been winning quite a bit of advance praise since 38 Studios and distributor Electronic Arts began previewing it this spring, which is surely music to the ears of officials in Rhode Island (as is the fact that the company has dozens of job openings here).
The Globe and WSJ also imply that the state-backed loan is a key reason the company now feels so bullish about its prospects. 38 Studios received $21.4 million from the loan in two installments on April 18, which were its most recent payments, EDC spokeswoman Judy Chong said. That brings the total disbursed to about $43.8 million.
(photo: 38 Studios)