Gaming company founder after acquisition: 'we will retain control'

Marker Metro was one of four companies in the Ulysses Group, which was acquired by The Marketing Group for just under €18.6 million. With special feature audio.

The boss of a local game development company says he doesn’t want to change the business’ “recipe for success” after it was snapped up by UK-headquartered The Marketing Group.

Marker Metro was one of four companies in the Ulysses Group, which was acquired by Nasdaq First North-listed The Marketing Group for just under €18.6 million ($29 million).

The Auckland-based company specialises in porting and co-developing games for mobile or TV gaming rather than building them from scratch. Key clients include Disney Mobile, Commonwealth Bank and Air New Zealand.

Marker Metro accounted for just under half of Ulysses’ earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the 2016 financial year, or €1 million.

Marker Metro chief executive and co-founder Keith Patton tells NBR the company will retain full operational control following the acquisition.

“In a lot of these deals there are changes mandated by management and the sort of flux you might expect when you have some sort of acquisition like this,” the Microsoft regional director says.

“But one of the key things for us was that it’s a people-based business and we have big clients that rely on our client management and delivery capabilities.

“I don’t want to rock the boat in terms of changing our recipe for success.”

At nearly five years old, it employs approximately 20 staff. Mr Patton says they come from countries such as China, Russia, Serbia and Brazil because senior Kiwi coders often have careers overseas.

“For me, the strategy is to keep what we’ve got, not overly expand headcount in any one region but to try to replicate the recipe in different areas of the world,” he says.

“One of the things we can do now is leverage some of the advantages of being part of a larger publically listed company so putting into practice our medium-to-long business strategy and establishing our cellular approach and 20-30 person team in LA to be closer to our clients.”

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