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Hachette Livre Buys Blackrock Games; Asmodee Picks Up Lui-même

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
Ahead of SPIEL '19 opening on Thursday, October 24, news of two acquisitions has emerged:

• First, French book publisher Hachette Livre — which purchased Gigamic in early 2019 and founded Studio H and Funnyfox in mid-2019 — has "entered into exclusive negotiations with Blackrock Games' shareholders with a view to acquiring the majority of their company's shares". An excerpt from the press release announcing this deal:

Blackrock Games, which was founded in 2007 by Alain Ollier and Yoann Laurent, is now the third-largest boardgame distributor in France. It distributes the products of 30 boardgame publishers and its know-how and expertise are recognised by retailers. Altogether, Blackrock brings approximately 90 new releases each year to points of sales, along with a 400-product catalogue. It has achieved solid growth over several years...

The 25 employee-team, passionate about games, is based in Romagnat, near Clermont Ferrand. They will develop independently, in the way Hachette Livre's imprints do, contributing to the group's diversity. Yoann Laurent, supported by Thibaut Quintens and Wladimir Watine, will remain at the head of Blackrock.

Yoann Laurent, President of Blackrock Games, said: "We are thrilled to be able to accelerate our development with Hachette Livre and thus offer new opportunities to our publishing partners. We will continue to be committed to our teams and to our values."

With this new investment, Hachette Livre, which acquired Gigamic in January this year, is implementing its strategic decision to explore the family leisure market that is adjacent to book publishing, in particular all the segments of the consumer gaming market.

Arnaud Nourry, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hachette Livre, said: "We are delighted to welcome Blackrock Games, whose know-how is widely appreciated in the world of boardgames. We expect this outstanding team and its leaders to continue the great work they have been achieving so far."
From gallery of W Eric Martin
• Second, Asmodee has purchased French publisher lui-même, best known for the party games Skull and The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, the latter of which has sold more than four million copies. Philippe des Pallières, co-designer of The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, had founded lui-même in 1999.

An excerpt from the press release:

Party games are a strategic development focus for the Asmodee Group, in its mission to bring great games to everyone. For over a decade, Asmodee has been the distributor of lui-même in most countries around the world, either directly or through its local partners.

"We are very happy to welcome Werewolves of Miller's Hollow and Skull into our portfolio of intellectual properties; both are emblematic games played around the world. We will keep on developing those games, for the enjoyment of the largest number of players" said Stéphane Carville, CEO of Asmodee Group.
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