Jul 23, 2018

Settlers of Catan maker being sold for $1.4 billion

PAI Partners said it has entered exclusive talks to buy Asmodee, the French game-maker responsible for Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, from fellow private equity firm Eurazeo.

Why it's a big deal: Because while Catan felt like it reached peak popularity earlier this decade, Asmodee revenue continues to be a rocket-ride, up 17% to €442 million last year. Moreover, it was worth just around €140 when acquired by Eurazeo in 2013, but the Financial Times reports the new sale price could be around €1.2 billion (including debt).

Bonus: In addition to the Catan franchise, Asmodee makes a game called Takenoko, which involves resolving a diplomatic dispute between China and Japan by growing and feeding bamboo to pandas. And it's very popular, proving again that there really are no bad ideas.

Bottom line from FT's Javier Espinoza: "Asmodee’s new owners are expected to grow its digital offering on platforms such as Apple’s App Store and Google Play and to build the business through acquisitions... [and] pursue a strategy similar to that of Lego in developing movie or comic franchises based on Asmodee’s games."

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins