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Leading Israeli gaming firm CrazyLabs acquired by Swedish company

Developer of mobile games has over 110 million monthly active users, profited over $152 million last year; partner of Likud’s Amir Ohana was an early investor

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

A screenshot from the trailer for Super Stylist, a leading game from Israeli studio CrazyLabs. (Screenshot/YouTube)
A screenshot from the trailer for Super Stylist, a leading game from Israeli studio CrazyLabs. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Swedish company Embracer Group has said it will acquire Israeli startup CrazyLabs, a developer and publisher of mobile games.

Embracer Group did not disclose financial details in its Thursday announcement of the agreement, but said the purchase will be made in both cash and Embracer company shares and the current management of CrazyLabs will remain in place.

CrazyLabs had the third most downloads of all mobile gaming publishers in 2020. The firm has recorded 4.5 billion downloads to date and has over 110 million monthly active users, the announcement said.

The company generated revenue of $152.9 million between July 2020 and June 2021, Embracer Group said.

CrazyLabs produces casual, lifestyle and hyper-casual games, which it defines as “lightweight, instantly playable and infinitely replayable — making them highly addictive and very engaging.”

Some of its leading hyper-casual titles are “Phone Case DIY,” “Acrylic Nails,” “Tie Dye” and “Run Sausage Run.” The company’s hyper-casual games had over 480 million downloads last year.

Its casual games are more complex, including storylines, progression and mission systems, the company said. Some of its leading titles include “Jumanji,” “Hotel Transylvania Adventures” and “Super Stylist.”

“Super Stylist” was the most downloaded fashion game last year, and has had over 60 million downloads to date. CrazyLabs has focused on women, an underserved demographic in the gaming world, Embracer Group said.

CrazyLabs also works with indie game developers and new studios to help them roll out new games, and partners with over 350 game development studios worldwide.

The company has a Knesset connection — one of its earliest investors was Alon Hadad, the husband of Likud lawmaker and Benjamin Netanyahu acolyte Amir Ohana. Hadad invested in the company in its first funding round in 2011, when investments were still mainly from friends and family of employees. Hadad was connected to the fledgling company via one of his family members, Eren Haras, who was a consultant for the firm at the time and now serves as its vice president of technology, according to a Channel 12 report.

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the ‘Besheva’ group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The exit means Ohana will join several other lawmakers in profiting from recent tech exits. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was an early investor in American fintech firm Payoneer. It went public in June, reportedly landing Bennett $5 million.

Likud’s Nir Barkat is reportedly set to profit from the planned listing of the financial services company eToro. Barkat invested in the firm himself, along with his brother, and also through their investment fund, BRM.

CrazyLabs was founded by CEO Sagi Schliesser in 2010 under the name TabTale. It first focused on educational games for kids, but transitioned to entertainment and changed its name in recent years.

It has offices in Israel, China, Macedonia, Germany and Ukraine.

Embracer Group is a games holding company that has been on an acquisition spree recently, snapping up eight gaming studios, including CrazyLabs. The group said CrazyLabs was the “most impactful contributor” of its recent acquisitions.

The Swedish company owns over 240 gaming franchises and 69 development studios and has over 7,000 employees.

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