A Wabash Valley company that provides software to league gaming businesses worldwide has hit the big-time with its pending acquisition by Esports Entertainment Group.
On Monday, it was announced that Esports Entertainment Group, Inc., an online esports tournament and gaming company, entered into an agreement to acquire ggCircuit LLC and Helix eSports LLC in a deal valued at about $43 million.
Zack Johnson, a graduate of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, founded ggCircuit and also owns and operates eBash. He is CEO of ggCircuit, an Indiana LLC (limited liability corporation) that shares a mailing address with eBash, located at 2303 S. Third St.
ggCircuit “is the software we built to run the store, and then we grew the software out all around the world,” he said in a phone interview. “A lot of stores, just like eBash, around the world use it. It’s been a long journey.”
He added, “We’ve been very fortunate over the years to grow this business, even this year in the pandemic. A lot of the stores we help have closed down and we adjusted the software so that it could help players connect from home back to their centers, like eBash is here in town.”
That has opened up some doors for some other enterprise and bigger clients around the U.S. and the world, he said. “It’s been a wild, crazy ride.”
While the deal has been in the works for months, he couldn’t say much until Monday; Esports Entertainment is a publicly-traded company “With a publicly-traded company, you’re not allowed to say things until things are announced,” Johnson said.
ggCircuit will be a fully owned subsidiary of Esports Entertainment Group. “We will still operate as ggCircuit,” Johnson said. “Our 33 employees that work for us from here in town, and all around the world we have employees that work for us; we’ll all stay employed for the company, and we’ll be part of a bigger parent company.”
Final paperwork for the acquisition should be complete in the next month or two, he said.
He also didn’t disclose how much of the purchase price will go to ggCircuit, although he anticipates that at some point that will become public. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that yet,” he said. “It’s still a letter of intent — it’s not been finalized.”
<z186667>In the esports world, Terre Haute “is pretty well known because of what we’ve done with eBash,” Johnson said. The executive team from GameStop visited Terre Haute a few years ago “and had a couple of days of meetings with us. A lot of big companies come into Terre Haute to talk with us.”
<z186667>Esports is not as big in Terre Haute as it is other places, just because of population, he said. “We power arenas in Las Vegas, and we power a lot of college and university esports programs.”
<z186667>Most people in this community do know eBash. “When they realize ggCircuit is the software that powers it, it will kind of make sense,” he said.
<z186667>As far as what the future may hold for Johnson and any future endeavors, he wants to reserve comment until things are final.
<z186667>”Once it’s complete, we’ll be very happy with what we’ve done, building this company over the last 17 years,” he said.
The pandemic has helped it in many ways, he said. “It’s turned attention to esports being a way kids can get together, communicate, form community and work together in a world where they are not allowed to necessarily get together like they used to be able to — until we get a vaccine,” he said.
Monday’s announcement was big for the company. “It’s becoming more of a reality as it sinks in,” Johnson said.
ggCircuit is a business-to-business software company that provides cloud-based management for gaming centers, a tournament platform, and integrated wallet/point-of-sale solutions for enterprise customers. It helps companies run their physical esports locations, according to an Esports Entertainment Group news release.
<z186667>ggCircuit has more than 1,000 connected locations and has worked with enterprises such as GameStop, Dell, Best Buy and Lenovo as well as universities such as Ohio State, Syracuse and North Carolina. Their ggLeap product has more than 60 million hours of usage by over two million unique gamers on tens of thousands of public gaming screens inside centers worldwide.
“With the acquisition of Helix and ggCircuit, we have created the most diversified, U.S.-listed esports entertainment asset in the entire ecosystem,” stated Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group, in the news release. “Together with what we’ve already built and further near-term acquisition opportunities, Esports Entertainment Group is well on its way to becoming a global industry leader.”
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at email@example.com. Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.