June 3, 2021

Nordeus, one of the most successful Serbian tech companies, becomes a part of Take-Two Interactive

Serbian game developer Nordeus, the maker of one of the most successful Serbian videogames, and possibly one of the country’s most successful products — Top Eleven — announced its acquisition by Take-Two Interactive, one of the largest game companies, whose portfolio includes the likes of Rockstar Games and 2K and some of the most important franchises in the industry, such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, BioShock, and many others.

On this matter, Branko Milutinović, CEO and founder of Nordeus said:

Over the decades, I’ve gotten to meet more or less everyone from the industry, especially on the mobile side. And I feel that with Take-Two culturally, we’ve got the best match. I think we share a lot of things together, and that it will be fairly straightforward to continue on our paths with this partnership.

Nordeus believes that a partnership with a major publisher like Take-Two will enable them to realise their ambitions, and make an even greater contribution to the development of Serbia’s gaming ecosystem:

And I do feel that together [with Take-Two] we’ll be able to add additional energy into the local ecosystem, and we’ll get to an even better place. I think it’s a great side effect. And I’m really proud of my position and role to impact that, because it really touched a lot of people in a very positive way, said Milutinović

Nordeus was founded in 2010. and quickly started on a path of record-breaking growth. Today it’s considered one of the most successful game companies in Serbia, and probably one of the country’s most successful businesses. From the height of success of Top Eleven in the game’s early days, the title went through several changes, following industry trends, and only recently came in fifth place in a list of top-grossing soccer video games on mobile platforms. Apart from Top Eleven, the company released another soccer game, and an epic strategy game

Nordeus has garnered international acclaim, and was voted the best gaming startup at Europas Awards 2011. In Serbia, the company is widely perceived as a great employer, and certainly played a major role in inspiring a great number of local professionals and entrepreneurs to believe that success on the global market was achievable from Serbia.

Aside from business activities, the company is known for its community outreach, charitable donations, the just-launched Foundation, as well as being the founder of the Serbian Games Association (SGA) and one of the founders of Digital Serbia Initiative (DSI).

As stated, Take-Two first became interested in Nordeus back in 2014, and failed acquisition talks did little to quell that interest over time. Given that Top Eleven has been active for a decade and never stopped growing, like Nordeus itself, Take-Two came to the conclusion that now was the right time to try again. As Michael Worosz, Head of Corporate Development & Independent Publishing at Take-Two, stated:

I think in M&A and deal making, particularly in mobile free to play where the fortunes of the business change from month to month, the thing you always want to be mindful of in acquisitions is catching a falling knife – Buying a business that’s trending downward. And here, it’s quite the opposite. This business is growing month over month. So I think our timing is impeccable.

Nordeus is the third mobile game developer that Take-Two acquired, following Social Point and Playdots. The company stated that this is an opportunity to consolidate the fragmented F2P market and realise Serbia’s full game development potential:

We were blown away by the quality of engineering science and game design talent that we found in Belgrade, and in Serbia more broadly … When we acquired Social Point back in 2017, we were fairly early in coming into the Barcelona games market. And now that that locale is blown up, with a lot of other businesses coming in, I think the same thing is gonna happen in Serbia. I think the future is really bright in the games industry in Serbia, Worosz concluded.

More information on the acquisition can be found on MCVuk. There will be no major changes in the short term, and the 180 Nordeus employees will continue working under the same executive team.

This is one of the most important acquisitions in Serbian IT, comparable only with Nutanix’s purchase of Frame, Playrix purchasing Eipix, 3lateral being acquired by Epic Games, and Mad Hat Games by the Swedish Embracer Group.

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