IP E-Game OKs swap deal with GMA Network unit


IP E-Game Ventures Inc. has approved a deal with a unit of GMA Network Inc. that will allow the former to expand its so-called casual online gaming business amid falling revenues.

A disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday showed that the board of IP E-Game approved a swap transaction with joint venture partner GMA New Media Inc.

The deal will allow IP E-Game to acquire GMA’s 50 percent stake in X-Play Online Games Inc., which publishes the NBA Facebook game and holds the rights to launch NBA Online next year.

In exchange, GMA will get a stake in IP E-Game.

“We believe both titles will do very well in the Philippines due to the popularity of basketball and the NBA,” IP E-Game CEO Jaime Enrique Gonzalez said in a text message.

No figures were disclosed in the filing and Gonzalez said negotiations were still ongoing.

The move comes as video game publisher IP E-Game continues to restructure its business. In February last year, it announced plans to diversify its business to include “food and beverage, entertainment, hotel and leisure.”

IP E-Game also sold its revenue-generating gaming assets to rival Level Up Inc. in exchange for a 30-percent stake in that company.

IP E-Game said revenue in the first half of 2013 declined by 33 percent to P181 million which it attributed to the transfer of its gaming assets.

Its Internet café business, through the Netopia chain, also declined by 17 percent to P142 million because of the reduction in its locations. It said the number of cafes would grow this year. It, however, did not elaborate.

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