BigWorld, the massively-multiplayer middleware engine, is being sold to its primary client Wargaming, creators of World of Tanks.
The acquisition is in its final stages now, and everything should be finalised by the end of this week. VentureBeat is reporting that the sale cost USD$45 million.
The purchase marks the largest acquisition of a videogame company in Australian history.
John De Margheriti, CEO of BigWorld, told MCV: "I plan to step down at the end of the week once completion has occurred, as CEO and Steve Wang, college friend and co-founder will take over my position as CEO in due course once Wargaming has approved his new role. I plan to continue on at least for a year as a part-time consultant to Wargaming to ensure that integration will be done effectively."
"I will also be spending more time helping the Academy of Interactive Entertainment with its global and regional expansion plans as it takes on a growing role in Australia's game development industry and elsewhere. The De Margheriti family has made and plans to continue to make multi-million dollar donations to the non profit AIE to help its continued growth, as well as continue to provide scholarships as it has in the past."
Wargaming's internal senior manager Paul Belevich will help with integration, while Simon Hayes will continue in his role as CTO.
De Margheriti continued: "My understanding is that BigWorld will relocate out of the present building alongside the AIE, to an even bigger office in Sydney as we have been adding additional engineering staff for a number of months in preparation of the sale and the extra engineering load it will place on our engineering capabilities, and hence we have no more room in our Sydney office!"
"AIE Sydney will of course welcome the freeing up of the office space as its also been growing and has had to take out leases for two other office spaces in Harris Street."
De Margheriti confirmed to MCV that it's all business as usual at BigWorld, which continues to operate its business licensing the BigWorld middleware to developers creating MMOs, and has seen its client list include Realm of the Titans, Secret Kingdoms Online, and World of Tanks, which is BigWorld's single largest client.
De Margheriti added: "I'm particularly pleased that the Director's of BigWorld approved retention bonuses for its development staff as a big thank you for past efforts as well as an future reward to remain with BigWorld."
"Many of our key staff will also received substantial additional bonuses, and as we have quite a number of past and present employee shareholders I am also glad that this transaction will be a major financial benefit for them and their families as a thank you for the years of hard work in making Bigworld the world's leading middleware platform for MMO and online games."
With relocation set to keep the company in its home town and additional staff being brought on, it's looking like this rather logical acquisition is a step forward for both Wargaming and BigWorld.
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