Is Backflip next for Nexon?

Contact: Ben Kolada

If the rumors are true, Japanese gaming giant Nexon will have spent nearly $1bn on gaming acquisitions in just one month. We’re hearing the company has acquired three-year-old gaming startup Backflip Studios for about $385m, and that’s not including a significant earnout. That would be on top of the $470m it dropped on fellow Japanese gaming company gloops at the start of the month.

Rumors of Nexon acquiring Backflip Studios first started circulating in September. We were recently told that Nexon is shelling out $385m, excluding a significant earnout, for Backflip. The Boulder, Colorado-based startup had grown considerably on its own. Published reports claim its revenue grew 200% in 2011, with 350% growth projected for this year. According to our sources, Backflip is set to generate roughly $40m in EBITDA this year.

The sale – provided it comes – would give a rather rich return to the entrepreneurs running Backflip, which has taken very little funding. In a lone SEC filing, Backflip disclosed it had secured just $140,000 in equity financing, but did not state who its investors were. Nexon may well provide more detail about the rumored transaction on or before its next earnings call, scheduled for November 8.