Programme:Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
Mercia Asset Management PLC (AIM: MERC), the proactive regionally focused specialist asset manager with c.£872million of assets under management, announced a £3.0million investment into Soccer Manager Limited (“Soccer Manager”).
The investment includes £1.5million from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Mercia’s proprietary capital, alongside £1.5million match funding from the Government’s Future Fund which has been established for high-growth companies. The investment will be used to fund continued growth.
Preston based Soccer Manager was first backed by Mercia’s managed funds in 2013 before becoming a direct investment in 2015. Mercia holds a direct stake of 39.01% fully diluted with a further 7.57% held by Mercia’s EIS managed funds.
The team is led by founders Andrew and Chris Gore, and Executive Chairman Nick Wheelwright, the former CEO of Codemasters and Monumental Games. Soccer Manager’s games are played in 234 countries around the world and have been downloaded by more than 50 million users achieving more than one million active users each month. Revenue has grown over 80% since the launch of the Soccer Manager 2021 game in September 2020.
Andy Gore, CEO of Soccer Manager, said “We founded Soccer Manager with a vision to bring high-quality football games that the whole world could play. We have always had the view that football, mobile and the internet is a powerful combination to achieve this vision. After years of building out our IP, technology, and games to millions of people worldwide, this investment will add significant fuel to our current growth trajectory and ambitions.
We are delighted to have a partner that continues to share our vision in Mercia, and we look forward to the next stage of our journey together.”
Julian Viggars, CIO of Mercia Asset Management, said: “The video gaming market is estimated to be worth $159.3billion in 2020, which is a considerable increase of 9.3% from 2019, in part due to the changes in the leisure time spend we have seen following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Soccer Manager is a great example of an innovative, regional businesses, which, with the determination of its founders, has scaled to achieve high-quality games with an incredibly strong community. The business was already on a strong growth trajectory before the pandemic, but with the numbers of at home gamers not expected to slow down any time soon, we anticipate that there is further significant potential in this asset.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund continues to provide vital funding to innovative businesses across the region. We are working with Mercia and our other appointed fund managers to make a real impact on business communities, creating jobs and supporting innovation by providing access to funding and unlocking the North’s potential.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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