Spark Ventures

23/06/2011 - SPARK announces significant uplift and partial sale of Mind Candy
SPARK Ventures plc (‘SPARK’ or the ‘Company’) is pleased to announce that it has sold half of its stake in a start-up investment, Mind Candy Inc. (trading as, at an enterprise value of US$200m generating a cash receipt of £3.1 million. This represents a 15x return, a 1400% return on cost and an IRR of 71 % since seed investment by a syndicate led by SPARK in 2004.

Moshimonsters has continued its very fast growth in the last six months. It now has over 50m registered players worldwide, has successfully launched the sale of physical monster toys in major toy shops and launched the Moshimonsters magazine - quickly becoming the best selling children’s magazine in the UK. Moshimonsters has a significant American and international client base. Mind Candy has become one of the world’s leading developers of social multi-player children’s games, helping children to play skill enhancing games and connect in a social network with each other safely. Mind Candy is headquartered in London and has around 70 staff. It has already agreed licensing deals with many top tier retailers and consumer products businesses in Europe and the USA such as Penguin Books.

SPARK has consequently increased its valuation of its stake in Mind Candy from £0.7m at 31 March 2010 to £6.0m now. The previous valuation reported by SPARK in its interim results for the six months to 30 September 2010 was £1.0m reflecting an enterprise value of $35m. This new £6.0m value is derived from an enterprise value of $200m being the price a new investor has paid to buy 50% of SPARK’s stake. It therefore represents a third party valuation. Previously the business was valued by SPARK according to a sales multiple.

Thomas Teichman, Chairman of SPARK Venture Management Ltd (which manages all SPARK's assets) and Director of Mind Candy Inc. said " At start up we backed the brilliantly creative and visionary founder of Mind Candy, Michael Acton Smith, in 2004, and are impressed and delighted by its rapid growth and popularity among children in over 180 countries. Its the second time we have successfully backed the founder in the last 12 years having backed, a successful B to C business, also at start up by Michael in 1999."

More information

Thomas Teichman

Chairman, SPARK Venture Management Ltd.

Tel +44 7007 333123

Matt Goode / Seb Jones

Collins Stewart

Tel: +44 (0)20 7523 8350

About SPARK Ventures

SPARK Ventures is a leading quoted venture capital company with investments in the technology, media and telecom sectors.

During the last seven years Spark has sold several businesses to blue-chip trade buyers, in transactions worth over £380m, realising over £58m of cash. These trade buyers have included The Financial Times (Mergermarket), Thomson Financial (Complinet), Qualcomm (Elata), Experian (Footfall), Ominiture (Touch Clarity), Ramboll (IMISoft), Valueclick (Pricerunner), and France Telecom (Unanimis).

About Mind Candy

Online gaming and entertainment company, Mind Candy was founded by internet entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith (CEO) in 2004. The company created MoshiMonsters, which has 50m players around the world and is now expanding rapidly offline into books, toys, trading cards, TV and film. Mind Candy's first project was the Transmedia game, Perplex City, that played out across different media including websites, text messages, magazines, live events, skywriting and multiple helicopters. Prior to Mind Candy, Michael co-founded (online retailer of gadgets, games and gifts), Berwickstock (boutique music festival) and Second Chance Tuesday (events to connect technology investors with entrepreneurs).
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