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|Parent||Koch Media Holding GmbH (2000–present)|
Koch Media GmbH is a German-Austrian media company headquartered in Höfen, Tyrol, Austria, with an operating subsidiary based in Planegg, Germany. The company was founded in 1994 by Franz Koch and Klemens Kundratitz. The company operates video game publishing labels Deep Silver and Ravenscourt, as well as a film distribution arm, Koch Films. Koch Media's parent company, Koch Media Holding, was acquired by Swedish holding company THQ Nordic AB in February 2018.
Early history (1994–2015)
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Koch Media was founded in 1994 by Franz Koch and his business partner, Klemens Kundratitz. Koch Media operated out of offices in Germany and Austria, while a regional subsidiary, Koch Media Ltd., was opened in England. In 1995, Koch Media released its first piece of application software, which sold more than 250,000 copies, and in 1996, the company began distributing video games. Another regional subsidiary, Koch Media AG, was formed in Switzerland in 1998. A holding company, Koch Media Holding, was established in 2000 to unite Koch Media's business areas. The same year, Koch Media srl was formed as a regional subsidiary for Italy.
In 2002, Koch Media established Deep Silver as a video game publishing division. A film division, Koch Home Entertainment, was announced in June 2003 and formally formed in early October. A game label for mass-market games, Fantastic.tv, was announced in November 2003. In October 2005, Koch Media acquired French distributor SG Diffusion, which had recently signed with NCsoft to distribute their game Guild Wars. SG Diffusion was renamed Koch Media SAS in January 2006. In February 2006, they established Koch Media Licensing GmbH as their license holding subsidiary. Antoher game label, named Spielen wir (lit. "Let's Play"), was created in July 2008 to publish casual games under. The same month, Koch Media acquired Proein, the Spanish distribution arm of SCi Entertainment, to undisclosed terms. Proein was renamed Koch Media S.L.U. in January 2009. Regional offices for Scandinavian and Benelux countries, operated by the England subsidiary, were opened in February and July that year, respectively. In March 2012, Koch Media had 250 employees. Another game publishing label, focusing on simulation games, was announced in March 2015. In August 2015, Koch Media Licensing GmbH was renamed Koch Films GmbH and absorbed the operations of the former Koch Home Entertainment division.
Sale to THQ Nordic AB (2018–present)
On 14 February 2018, Koch Media Holding was acquired by THQ Nordic AB, the Swedish video game holding company. The purchase agreement was signed at 8:00 AM, and the deal was announced that same day. The deal comprised a purchase price of €91.5 million, split into €66 million in cash paid at closure of the deal (which was expected to occur later on the same day), €9.5 million in stock to be paid by 15 June 2018, and another €16 million in cash to be paid by 14 August 2018. The total consideration for Koch Media's share capital amounted to €121 million on a cash and debt-free basis.
Koch and Kundratitz had owned 90% and 10% in the company, respectively, and both of them sold their shares, wherefore THQ Nordic AB became the sole owner of the company. According to manager Reinhard Gratl, the sale primarily came about because Koch wanted to retire, and no one in his family was interested in taking over the business. He asked for all money to be paid to Koch Media instead of him, so the company could profit from the deal. Koch resigned from Koch Media on the same day. Koch Media's management, consisting of chief executive officer Kundratitz, chief financial officer Gratl and chief operating officer Stefan Kapelari, was subsequently joined by THQ Nordic AB's Erik Stenberg.
On 13 February 2019, THQ Nordic AB announced that Koch Media had acquired Czech developer Warhorse Studios. Warhorse's game Kingdom Come: Deliverance had been co-published by Deep Silver exactly one year prior, and Koch Media paid €42.8 million, equal to Warhorse's 2018 earnings, to seize ownership over the studio and its intellectual property. Later on the same day, it was announced that Koch Media had also acquired 18point2, an Australian publishing partner, for €1.9 million, aiming at establishing a stronger presence in the Australian market for Koch Media. The two acquisitions added 120 and 8 employees, respectively, to Koch Media's staff.
As of February 2018, Koch Media is headquartered in Höfen, a municipality with a population of roughly 1,200 people that is located in Austria's Tyrol region and close to Bavaria, Germany. In Höfen, Koch Media occupies an office complex in which the company employs 150 people in various departments. The property, as well as an adjacent 7,000 square metres (75,000 sq ft) plot, is owned by THQ Nordic AB. In Planegg, a municipality in Bavaria that is located close to Munich, Koch Media operates a subsidiary branch also called Koch Media GmbH. Worldwide, Koch Media employs 800 people.
Deep Silver is Koch Media's division for video game publishing. Deep Silver owns three game development studios: Volition, based in Champaign, Illinois, is the developer of the Saints Row series, Dambuster Studios, based in Nottingham, England, developed Homefront: The Revolution, and Fishlabs, based in Hamburg, Germany, develops mobile games, most notably, the Galaxy on Fire series. Eugenio Vitale serves as "director of games development" for Deep Silver.
Deep Silver was announced in November 2002, with their first game to release being Anarchy Online. According to Craig McNichol, who ran Koch Media's England branch, the idea behind Deep Silver was to have a business segment that would develop games that would complement the games Koch Media was distributing on behalf of other publishers. McNichol also stated that Deep Silver's name was subject to much internal discussion. Koch Media invested €500,000 in Deep Silver in July 2003, and in November 2003, all of Koch Media's game publishing operations (excluding distribution) were reallocated to Deep Silver. The division had been continously active since, primarily in Europe. In April 2008, Koch Media opened Deep Silver, Inc., a subsidiary branch based in Los Angeles, under Deep Silver's name. In August 2007, Games That Matter, a studio founded by former Rockstar Vienna employees in 2006, was acquired by Koch Media and became part of Deep Silver under the name Deep Silver Vienna. Co-founders Niki Laber and Hannes Seifert had left the studio by January 2010, at which point Deep Silver Vienna was shut down. Deep Silver Vienna has only produced one game, Cursed Mountain, which was developed in association with Sproing Interactive and released in August 2009 for Wii.
Deep Silver first gained widespread attention until their release of Dead Island and their acquisition of Volition. Dead Island had been their first release to reach the top spot on sales charts in September 2011, and they acquired Volition in January 2013, alongside the rights to the Metro series, from the bankruptcy proceedings of THQ. Deep Silver also acquired a minority interest in Berlin-based free-to-play game developer Infernum Productions in December 2012. In February 2013, Deep Silver announced its intentions to expand into the mobile games market.
In December 2013, Fishlabs, which had filed for self-administration the previous October, was acquired by Koch Media and became Deep Silver's dedicated mobile game studio. As the agreement was an asset deal, the legal entity of the studio was dissolved and Fishlabs was reorganized as a division, officially known as Deep Silver Fishlabs. In July 2014, Deep Silver acquired the rights to Homefront and its in-development sequel, Homefront: The Revolution, from German developer Crytek. Dambuster Studios (officially, Deep Silver Dambuster Studios) was established to continue the devlopment of The Revolution, succeeding Crytek UK. Later on the same day, Crytek announced that Crytek UK would be closed, and all of its staff transferred to Dambuster Studios. In August 2018, Koch Media acquired the rights to the TimeSplitters games, which would be overseen by Deep Silver.
In January 2013, Deep Silver announced a special edition of their then-upcoming game Dead Island: Riptide, titled Zombie Bait Edition, which would include a statuette of a mutilated female torso in Europe and Australia. After strong criticism over the item, Deep Silver initially offerend an apology, stating that they were "deeply sorry" and promising consumers that something like that would not happen again. However, when the game was released in April that year, the bust was still included, generating further backlash.
In January 2019, Deep Silver partnered with Epic Games on a one-year exclusivity deal for the personal computer (PC) version of their upcoming game Metro Exodus on Epic's digital distribution storefront, the Epic Games Store. Through this deal, Metro Exodus was removed from Steam, another digital distribution storefront, where Deep Silver had been selling pre-orders for the game since August 2018. Additionally, the deal was made and announced less than three weeks prior to game's release, causing criticism and confusion among critics and fans of the Metro franchise. Valve, the company behind Steam, labeled the move as unfair to consumers, while fans review-bombed previous entries of the series on Steam.
Franchises published by Deep Silver include Metro from 4A Games and Volition's Saints Row, both of which were acquired through THQ's bankruptcy auction in 2013, as well as Techland-created Dead Island. Other games include Homefront: The Revolution by Dambuster Studios and Shenmue III by Ys Net.
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