12 November 2021

Carlsen's TMER 2019-21, Chess24

Continuing with Magnus Carlsen's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (TMER; 2000-), the previous post, Carlsen's TMER 2019-21, Lichess (October 2021), demands to be followed by an equivalent post on Chess24. We already know from Carlsen's TMER 2019-21, the Tours (October 2021) that Chess24 played a central role in the organization of the 'Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour' (2020) and the 'Meltwater Champions Chess Tour', (2020-21) but there is more to the relationship with GM Carlsen than meets the eye. In Chess24.com, Wikipedia informs,

In March 2019, Chess24 merged with Magnus Carlsen's company Play Magnus AS in a transaction that made the former Chess24 owners the largest shareholders in Play Magnus.

That sentence has two references in the form of footnotes:-

Google Translate tells us that the Norwegian headline means,

Chess expert takes over Magnus Carlsen's gaming company; Chess master Magnus Carlsen and the app company Play Magnus buy one of their biggest competitors.

After reading the translated article, I can quibble with the headline phrases 'takes over' and 'one of their biggest competitors', but it's a minor point, maybe due to a glitch in translation. The essentials of the transaction were explained in a few paragraphs:-

The settlement in the transaction takes place by issuing new shares in the company. [Chess24's GM Jan] Gustafsson and [Enrique] Guzman will remain with 38 percent of the shares in Play Magnus, while the current shareholders will remain with 62 percent.

Last summer, Play Magnus raised NOK 38.5 million in fresh capital in a share issue that priced the entire company at close to NOK 150 million. The merger with Chess24 will be carried out at the same pricing as in the previous issue. The total company will thus be priced at NOK 291 million, says chairman of the board Anders Brandt in Play Magnus.

Magnus Carlsen and his father keep their shares, which in the last issue were priced at close to NOK 68 million. Following the acquisition, the second largest shareholder in Play Magnus will only be beaten by the holding company of the two previous Chess24 owners.

At current 2021 exchange rates, NOK 100 (Norwegian Kroner) is equivalent to USD 11.50 or EUR 10.00. More information about the previous transactions is available via links to other articles on the Dagens Naeringslivs site.

Current information about the company is available from its web site. The following image from the site's main page lists eight subsidiaries: Play Magnus app suite, Chessable, Chess24, Silver Knights, Champions Chess Tour, New in Chess [NIC], Aimchess, and iChess.net.

Play Magnus Group (playmagnusgroup.com)
'Defining the Future of Chess'

Getting back to the Chess24.com announcement, 'Chess24 and Play Magnus join forces', the article starts,

Today we’re proud to announce that Chess24 has merged with Play Magnus [...]

Later it also uses the word 'merger', but it's obvious from the structure of the deal that the transaction was a takeover of Chess24 by Play Magnus. In the article we learn,

On our 5th birthday [Carlsen] took on Peter Svidler in a match, and last Friday he played his first Banter Blitz.

That mention of Carlsen and 'Banter Blitz' is worth further exploration for the TMER, but I'll save that for another post.

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