Spark Sells Stake in Mind Candy, Inks 15x Return

Spark Ventures said that it sold half of its stake in social online gaming company Mind Candy Inc., sealing a 15x return. The London-based firm first invested in Mind Candy in 2004. According to the firm, Mind Candy is now valued at $200 million.

PRESS RELEASE
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 moshimonsters.com), 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 Firebox.com, a successful B to C business, also at start up by Michael in 1999.”