GP Bullhound completes a follow-on investment in Challengermode

Gp Bullhound

GP Bullhound completes a follow-on investment in Challengermode
Challengermode Robel Web

Making esports accessible to everyone

26 August 2020

Founded in 2014 Challengermode has swiftly secured its position as one of the leading providers of the operating infrastructure powering esports and online tournaments. The company has grown impressively, having hosted millions of competitions and has become a regular place for gamers to congregate, practice and compete in esports.

Challengermode successfully closed an external financing round of $12m led by eWTP Innovation Fund, the global investment arm of the Alibaba Group, with additional support from GP Bullhound, Telia Ventures, Back in Black and football legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

 

Hampus Hellermark of GP Bullhound, said: “We have a strong vision for the future of esports and believe Challengermode has a unique opportunity to be a driving force in making that vision a reality. We are excited to continue to support Robel and the team on their quest to make esports accessible to everyone.”

 

“We are very excited to close this new financing round with the support of a strong set of investors who share our vision for esports. With the additional backing, we’re able to double down on our core mission of delivering the best competitive gaming experience to each and everyone’s home, in any game,” commented Robel Efrem, CEO of Challengermode.

GP Bullhound completed its first investment in Challengermode in 2018 through Fund IV, which focuses on growth stage businesses in the software, digital media, marketplaces and fintech sectors. Previous investments include Ravenpack, Slack, Klarna, Unity, Glovo and Believe.

Enquiries

For enquiries, please contact:

Joakim Dal, Partner

joakim.dal@gpbullhound.com Hampus Hellermark, Associate

hampus.hellermark@gpbullhound.com

About GP Bullhound

GP Bullhound is a leading technology advisory and investment firm, providing transaction advice and capital to the world’s best entrepreneurs and founders. Founded in 1999, the firm today has offices in London, San Francisco, Stockholm, Berlin, Manchester, Paris, Hong Kong, Madrid and New York. For more information, please visit www.gpbullhound.com.


GP Bullhound Fund V

Following the successful strategy of its predecessor funds, GP Bullhound Fund V recently held its first close of €125m, focusing on growth-stage businesses in the software industry. Read more here.

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CVC funds to partner with ironSource

New investment by CVC funds will allow ironSource to further accelerate both organic and inorganic growth

Leading mobile marketing company ironSource announced today that CVC Funds have agreed to acquire a minority stake for over $400 million in the company. The partnership reflects a shared long-term vision to further strengthen ironSource’s position as a global market leader in the high-growth mobile advertising and mobile gaming technology markets and will serve to accelerate strategic growth.

“As one of the world’s most respected private equity firms, CVC has a track record of successfully partnering with companies to drive global growth,” said Tomer Bar Zeev, CEO and Co-Founder of ironSource. “As such they are the perfect partner for this next phase in our journey, as we continue to scale internationally, engage with A-class partners and invest heavily in building out our offering for game developers.”

Profitable from almost day one, ironSource has grown rapidly since its founding in 2009 and is on track to finish 2019 with approximately $1 billion of revenue. Through its various technologies, the company works with a unique combination of customers including software, app and game developers, telecom operators, and mobile device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The company  focuses on developing technologies for app monetization and distribution, with its core products targeting game developers.

The  gaming industry is experiencing rapid growth, and is on track to generate $180 billion in 2021, with mobile gaming experiencing a 27% CAGR. ironSource’s growth platform provides mobile game developers with the tools they need to grow and scale their game businesses.

“We’re witnessing the creation of a sector, gametech, which supports this growing ecosystem, with tailor-made tech solutions such as advertising, marketing, analytics, market intelligence, CRM and more,” says Bar-Zeev. “Our continued investment in this industry is part of a wider goal to be the go-to partner for any game developer looking to scale their game business.”

Another key growth driver for the company is Aura, ironSource’s solution for mobile carriers and device manufacturers. Aura provides a dynamic engagement and content distribution solution, empowering OEMs and telecoms operators to build ongoing relationships with their customers, ultimately turning those customers into engaged users. The technology is integrated on more than 120 million mobile devices globally, through partnerships with the top telecoms operators in the US and international mobile OEMs.

“By combining best-in-class technology with strategic acquisitions we’ve proven our ability to support the growth of our clients and create a unique experience for their users, and that’s something we plan to continue investing in moving forward,” concluded Bar Zeev.

“We are delighted to be partnering with such an innovative and exciting technology business,” said Daniel Pindur, Partner at CVC Capital Partners. “The investment in ironSource  is a unique opportunity to support a well-respected founder-led organization to accelerate its growth. We look forward to working with Tomer Bar Zeev and his team to take the company to the next level.”

Sebastian Kuenne, Managing Director, CVC Growth Partners added: “We are very excited about CVC Funds’ first technology deal in Israel. Israel is a hub for leading edge technology companies and ironSource is a prime example. We are excited by the opportunity to partner with ironSource’s founders to continue to provide leading technology solutions to its customers.”

Board members at ironSource, Shlomo Dovrat, Co-Founder of Viola Ventures and Ronen Nir, GP at Viola Ventures, added: “As the first institutional investor in ironSource, we had the honour of working with this exceptional founding team, and supporting their growth to become one of Israel’s first unicorns. We are big believers in the company’s ongoing journey to becoming a global leader and with CVC’s support, we are confident the company will sustain its rapid growth and high profitability. ironSource is a fantastic example of Viola’s commitment to backing Israeli entrepreneurs who aspire to build multi-billion dollar companies, and is an inspiration for the entire Israeli tech ecosystem.”

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Axcel invests in SteelSeries, a leading global brand within gaming peripherals

Axcel

For nearly two decades, SteelSeries has been a frontrunner in the gaming industry, offering high-quality gaming peripherals to pro and enthusiast gamers. Its software platform has millions of daily users and is integrated with games and applications. Over the years, the company has built a strong brand and has leveraged this to outpace category growth globally. The gaming peripherals market is expected to continue experiencing significant growth, mainly driven by an increased number of gamers, growth in esports and a clear trend towards multiplayer/social games.

“I am very proud of our growth, driven by relentless innovation, inspired design, and a commitment to esports. We are well positioned to benefit from category growth and a loyal fan base. We have built the best team in the business and we look forward to a new partnership with Axcel.” says Ehtisham Rabbani, CEO of SteelSeries.

SteelSeries helped create the gaming audio category, in a list of many industry firsts. Today, the Arctis headset line is an award-winning market leader. SteelSeries’ other market leading products lines include the Rival gaming mice, Apex gaming keyboards and QcK gaming surfaces.

Ehtisham and the rest of the management team have done an excellent job in defining a clear value proposition and setting a focused strategy. Furthermore, the company has been able to develop new and innovative products across the key gaming peripherals supporting today’s enthusiast and professional gamers,” says Lars Cordt, who is responsible for the investment at Axcel. “Based on SteelSeries’ strong position as a leading global gaming peripherals brand, we believe that we can grow the company significantly going forward.”

Founded in Denmark to serve the needs of esports pros, the company has sponsored some of the world’s first professional esports teams and tournaments. This legacy has solidified SteelSeries as a top esports brand and continues to drive all aspects of the company’s hardware and software development.

Jacob Wolff-Petersen, the founder, is excited about the prospects of partnering with Axcel:

“I’m excited about partnering with Axcel for the next phase of the company’s journey. SteelSeries has become a global company, but the company’s Nordic heritage is still an essential part of our DNA. Axcel was therefore an obvious partner. I’m certain that together with Axcel, we will be able to further expand the SteelSeries brand across regions and channels.

Christian Bamberger Bro, partner at Axcel, adds:

SteelSeries is an exciting investment opportunity for Axcel, where we will be able to leverage our experience within the consumer and technology sectors to develop the company together with its exceptionally talented management team.”

SteelSeries is being acquired from US-based L Catterton. The parties have agreed not to disclose any financial terms. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

SteelSeries is Axcel V’s ninth investment. Axcel will control the majority of SteelSeries’ shares.

About SteelSeries
SteelSeries is a leader in gaming peripherals focused on quality, innovation and functionality, and the fastest growing major PC gaming headset brand in the US. Founded in 2001, SteelSeries improves performance through first-to-market innovations and technologies that enable gamers to play harder, train longer, and rise to the challenge. SteelSeries is a pioneer supporter of competitive gaming tournaments and eSports and connects gamers to each other, fostering a sense of community and purpose. SteelSeries’ team of professional and gaming enthusiasts help design and craft every single accessory and are the driving force behind the company. In 2018, the company generated sales of DKK +1 billion.

About Axcel
Founded in 1994, Axcel is a Nordic private equity firm focusing on mid-market companies and has a broad base of both Nordic and international investors. Axcel has raised five funds with total committed capital of just over EUR 2.0 billion. These funds have made 55 platform investments, with almost 100 major add-on investments and 43 exits. Axcel currently owns 12 companies with combined annual revenue of more than EUR 1.1 billion and some 4,000 employees.

Further information:

Axcel:
Lars Cordt, Partner
E-mail: lc@axcel.dk
Tel.: +45 3336 6999

Christian Schmidt-Jacobsen, Managing Partner
E-mail: csj@axcel.dk
Tel.: +45 3336 6999

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First exit by EQT Ventures – sells stake in Small Giant Games at USD 700 million valuation

EQT Ventures

  • EQT Ventures sells its stake in mobile games company Small Giant Games to Zynga, a leading social games developer
  • EQT Ventures led a USD 5.7 million Series A round in March 2017 and an additional USD 41 million investment at the end of January 2018

The EQT Ventures fund (“EQT Ventures”) today announces that it entered an agreement to sell its ownership stake in the Finnish mobile gaming studio, Small Giant Games (“the Company”) to Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), a leading social game developer, headquartered in San Francisco, California. The implied valuation of the Small Giant Games transaction is at USD 700 million. EQT Ventures led a USD 5.7 million Series A round in March 2017 and then led an additional USD 41 million investment in January 2018.

Founded in 2013, Small Giant Games’ team of 47 employees developed the hit franchise Empires & Puzzles. The game blends approachable Match-3 battles with deeper gameplay elements including Hero Collection, Base Building and Social Alliances. Just ten months after Empires & Puzzles’ launch in March 2017, the game had developed a strong new brand and loyal following, and Small Giant Games reported USD 33 million in revenues. In the first four months of 2018, the company had already exceeded 2017’s revenue. In addition, Empires & Puzzles has frequently made it into the the Top 10 Grossing Games on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and has now been downloaded more than 26 million times.

In March 2017, EQT Ventures led Small Giant Games’ USD 5.7 million Series A round and has remained the largest individual owner in the Company since. Following the successful launch of Empires & Puzzles, EQT Ventures was dedicated to supporting the Company’s continued growth journey and, at the end of January 2018, the fund led an additional USD 41 million investment. During the investment period, EQT Ventures – with its team’s mobile gaming experience – supported the Company as it sought to scale Empires & Puzzles.

Timo Soininen, CEO at Small Giant Games, commented: “Our studio has always believed that small, focused and talented teams with a big vision can achieve huge things. EQT Ventures has supported us from the start – not just with capital, but also strategic advice and guidance. The EQT Ventures team’s extensive mobile gaming experience and entrepreneurial mindset has proved invaluable when scaling Empires & Puzzles and we’ve enjoyed working closely with Lars and the rest of the team. I’m confident that partnering with Zynga is now the right next step in our evolution.”

Lars Jörnow, Partner at EQT Partners and Investment Advisor to EQT Ventures, concluded: “Huge congratulations to Timo, Markus, Otto and the rest of the Small Giant team – this is a well-deserved milestone for everyone at the company. The Small Giant team checked all the boxes for EQT Ventures: small, passionate, agile, data-driven and determined to build a global hit game. The EQT Ventures team would like to thank Small Giant Games for letting us be part of their journey – it has been a true partnership and we look forward to the next phase!”

Contact
Lucy Wimmer, Communications Partner, EQT Ventures, lucy@eqtventures.com, +44 7551 289 177
EQT Press Office, press@eqtpartners.com, +46 8 506 55 334

About EQT Ventures
EQT Ventures is a multi-stage VC fund with commitments of just over EUR 566 million. The fund is based in Luxembourg and has investment advisors stationed in Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, San Francisco and Berlin. Fuelled by some of Europe’s most experienced company builders and scalers, EQT Ventures helps the next generation of entrepreneurs with capital and hands on support. EQT Ventures is part of EQT, a leading investment firm with more than EUR 50 billion in raised capital across 28 funds.

More info: www.eqtpartners.com

About EQT
EQT is a leading investments firm with more than EUR 50 billion in raised capital across 28 funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the US with total sales of more than EUR 19 billion and approximately 110,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.

More info: www.eqtpartners.com

About Small Giant Games
Small Giant Games was founded in early 2013 with the belief that small, talented teams can do extraordinary things. We bring years of experience to the table, with a crew of top players in game development, software engineering and graphic design. We’re based right in the heart of downtown Helsinki, Finland.

More info: www.smallgiantgames.com

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KKR To Invest in Epic Games

KKR

trategic investment partners include KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners

CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Epic Games is pleased to announce it has received an investment of approximately $1.25 billion from KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

This investment creates powerful partnerships with highly strategic investment firms and individuals at the forefront of technology, entertainment, professional sports, esports, and live events.

These investors join Tencent, Disney and Endeavor as minority shareholders in Epic, which continues to be controlled by founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney.

“We’re excited to partner with the finest minds in the financial, sports, and entertainment communities. This reinforces Epic’s position of leadership in real-time 3D technology, and accelerates our ability to improve the way people play, work, and interact with the world,” said Sweeney.

“Epic Games has fundamentally changed the model for interactive entertainment under the company’s visionary leadership,” said Ted Oberwager of KKR. “Alongside a special group of investors, we are thrilled to support Epic’s dedicated employees and the passionate community of players and developers that lies at the heart of everything that Epic Games does.”

The Raine Group and Guggenheim Securities, LLC are acting as financial advisors to Epic Games. Smith Anderson is acting as legal advisor to Epic Games.

About Epic Games

Founded in 1991, Epic Games is the creator of Fortnite, Unreal, Gears of War, Shadow Complex, and the Infinity Blade series of games. Epic’s Unreal Engine technology brings high-fidelity, interactive experiences to PC, console, mobile, AR, VR and the Web. Unreal Engine is freely available at unrealengine.com. For more information, visit epicgames.com and check out @EpicGames.

Contacts
Epic Games
Dana Cowley
Dana.Cowley@epicgames.com

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Eurazeo announces the sale of Asmodee after a succesful transformation

Eurazeo

Paris, October 23, 2018 – Eurazeo announced today the effective sale to PAI Partners of its investment in Asmodee, a leading international games publisher and distributor.

This deal perfectly reflects the in-depth transformation successfully completed in recent years by Stéphane Carville and his teams with Eurazeo’s support. In four years, Asmodee’s revenue has grown from €125 million to €442 million, representing an average annual growth rate of 37%, and is now generated 75% internationally. At the same time, publishing revenues increased to nearly two-thirds of games sales. The Group also completed 20 acquisitions, representing over €140 million in revenue.
The deal generating sales proceeds of €565 million for Eurazeo and its investor partners, including €426 million for Eurazeo, i.e., a return on the initial investment of nearly 4x and an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of almost 35%.
***
About Eurazeo
o With a diversified portfolio of more than €17 billion in assets under management, including over €11 billion from third parties, Eurazeo is a leading global investment company with offices in Paris, Luxembourg, New York, Shanghai and Sao Paulo. Its purpose and mission is to identify, accelerate and enhance the transformation potential of the companies in which it invests. The firm covers most private equity segments through its five investment divisions – Eurazeo Capital, Eurazeo Croissance, Eurazeo PME, Eurazeo Patrimoine and Eurazeo Brands – and through three Idinvest business divisions: Venture Capital, Private Debt and Dedicated Portfolio & Funds. Its solid institutional and family shareholder base, robust financial structure free of structural debt, and flexible investment horizon enable Eurazeo to support its companies over the long term. As a global long-term shareholder, the firm offers deep sector expertise, a gateway to global markets, and a stable foothold for transformational growth to the companies it supports.

o Eurazeo is listed on Euronext Paris.
o ISIN: FR0000121121 – Bloomberg: RF FP – Reuters: EURA.PA

EURAZEO CONTACTS PRESS CONTACT

CAROLINE COHEN
HEAD OF INVESTOR RELATIONS
E-mail: ccohen@eurazeo.com
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 15 16 76
VIRGINIE CHRISTNACHT
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
E-mail: vchristnacht@eurazeo.com
Tel: +33 1 44 15 76 44
HAVAS PARIS
Deborah Guedj
E-mail: deborah.guedj@havas.com
Tel: +33 (0)6 26 74 95 96
For more information, please visit the Group’s website: www.eurazeo.com
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Pai Partners enters exclusive discussions to acquire Asmodee Group

PAI Partners

Asmodee Group is a leading international games publisher and distributor with operations located in Europe, North America, and China. Asmodee’s best known titles, either published or distributed on behalf of key publishing partners, include Catan, Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Dobble/Spot it!, Star Wars: X-Wing, 7 Wonders and Jungle Speed. In some European countries, Asmodee also distributes trading card games such as Pokemon, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh! Asmodee realised a turnover of 442 million in 2017, 75% of which was made outside France, its home market.

PAI intends to support the current management team in its plans to grow the business further through international expansion both organically and by acquisition.

The acquisition of Asmodee would be the first investment made by PAI Europe VII, which reached a successful final close at €5.1 billion in March 2018 after less than six months of active marketing.

Stéphane Carville, CEO of Asmodee Group, commented: “We would like to thank Eurazeo for their support over the last few years, during which we have grown to become one of the leading players in the games publishing and distribution space. We have been very impressed by the PAI team, their operational approach as well as their knowledge of the consumer goods industry globally, and we very much look forward to continuing our ascent in partnership with them.”

Gaëlle d’Engremont, Partner at PAI Partners, commented: “Asmodee represents a unique opportunity to invest in a fast-growing platform within the gaming industry, as part of PAI’s strategy to invest in attractive consumer goods industries. Stéphane and his team have an unparalleled track record in driving profitable growth both organically and through acquisitions, and we are delighted that they have chosen to partner with us. We are excited by the company’s growth prospects, which include further developing Asmodee’s position in the core hobby gaming market and successfully diversifying the group’s main brands onto other platforms. We look forward to working together to deliver on our ambitious objectives.”

The relevant employee works councils of Asmodee will be consulted in respect of the transaction and completion of the transaction will be subject to regulatory approval and other customary conditions precedent.

Media contacts

PAI Partners
Greenbrook Communications: Matthieu Roussellier / James Madsen
Tel.: +44 20 7952 2000

Asmodee Group
CICommunication : Marion Felix / Catherine Isnard
Tel +33 (0)1 47 23 90 48 –
Email: cicom@cicommunication.com

About PAI Partners

PAI Partners is a leading European private equity firm with offices in Paris, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York and Stockholm. PAI manages €12.3 billion of dedicated buyout funds. Since 1994, the company has completed 68 transactions in 11 countries, representing €50 billion in transaction value. PAI is characterised by its industrial approach to ownership combined with its sector-based organisation. PAI Partners provide the companies they own with the financial and strategic support required to pursue their development and enhance strategic value creation.
www.paipartners.com

About Asmodee Group

Asmodee Group is a leading international games publisher and distributor with operations located in Europe, North America and China. Asmodee’s best known titles, either published or distributed on behalf of key publishing partners, include Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Dead of Winter, Splendor, Dobble/Spot it!, Star Wars: X-Wing, 7 Wonders, Dixit, Takenoko, Abyss, Timeline, Jungle Speed and The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow. In some European countries, Asmodee also distributes trading card games such as Pokémon and Magic. Asmodee has headquarters in Guyancourt, France.
Learn more at corporate.asmodee.com.

 

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KKR to Invest $400 Million in AppLovin

KKR

Investment will fuel company’s growth as it continues to scale its global mobile game discovery business

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– AppLovin announced today it has agreed to terms on a $400 million investment from KKR, a leading global investment firm. The partnership with KKR will accelerate AppLovin’s goal of giving app developers of all sizes the ability to finance, market, and grow their businesses.

Founded in 2012, AppLovin started as a leader in the mobile gaming user acquisition and monetization space and has expanded to offer a single, comprehensive platform that gives developers the ability to connect with consumers around the globe. In 2018, the company launched its own mobile gaming division, Lion Studios, which has already published multiple chart-topping games. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto with offices in San Francisco, New York, Dublin, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, and Berlin.

With accelerating revenue growth and profitability, AppLovin is a critical growth engine for mobile game developers around the world, helping to support fresh ideas and increase the healthy competition that drives game development innovation and a robust global gaming economy. To do so, the company reaches over 300 million daily active users and drives over one billion installs for gaming companies annually. Close to 90% of the top mobile gaming companies from around the world work with AppLovin. The company is well positioned for continued growth, with mobile gaming projected to be a $70.3 billion industry in 2018, growing over 25% year-over-year according to Global Games Market Report.

“We’re honored to be partnering with KKR, one of the best investment firms in the world,” said Adam Foroughi, CEO and co-founder of AppLovin. “This investment will further fuel the growth of our product and our investment in Lion Studios. KKR’s expertise will be invaluable as we continue to scale our company globally and help more app developers meet and exceed their business goals.”

“AppLovin is a robust, market leading platform in the high-growth mobile gaming market,” said Herald Chen, Member and Head of Technology, Media and Telecom at KKR. “We are excited to be backing the company and partnering with Adam Foroughi, an excellent entrepreneur, strategist and operator, and we look forward to supporting the expansion of its global mobile gaming platform through continued investment in AppLovin’s best-in-class products and services.”

KKR is making the investment primarily from its KKR Americas XII Fund.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is serving as exclusive financial advisor to AppLovin and The Raine Group is serving as exclusive financial advisor to KKR on the transaction. Fenwick & West is serving as legal advisor to AppLovin and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is serving as legal advisor to KKR.

About AppLovin

AppLovin offers a comprehensive platform where app developers of all sizes can connect with their ideal consumers and get discovered. Founded in 2012, the company is focused on helping both indie and established mobile game developers grow with the expertise and insights they need to finance, market, and expand their businesses—all in one place. App developers view AppLovin as a trusted partner, the rare company that understands what it takes to succeed in the mobile app ecosystem and has the ability to help them reach their goals. Learn more at www.applovin.com.

About KKR

KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic manager partnerships that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.

AppLovin
Katie Jansen, 415-710-5305
press@applovin.com
or
KKR
Kristi Huller or Cara Major, 212-750-8300
media@kkr.com

Source: AppLovin

 

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