Elisa acquires Sulake

    Elisa, the Finnish telecommunications and ICT services company, has acquired Sulake, the makers of Habbo. Sulake will continue as an independent company and will continue under the Habbo brand. Elisa previously owned 24% of the company, and has now increased its share to 85 percent.

    Sulake has had a dynamic six months, to say the least. This summer they were covered on the UK’s Channel 4 for the company’s failure to police the platform for sexual content, and were labeled by the press as a “paedophile haven.” This caused Balderton Capital to exit their 13% share, and 3i to later leave their 16% stake.

    The main shareholders in Sulake were then Taivas Group, Elisa Group, and the company’s founders Sampo Karjalainen and Aapo Kyrölä.

    In October, Sulake then began talks to reduce their workforce by up to 2/3, laying off a maximum of 60 people. Sulake’s CEO Paul Lafontaine then stepped down as CEO at the beginning of this year.

    Despite these ups and downs more than four million young people visit Habbo every month. The net revenue of Sulake in 2012 was approximately 22 million euro and the result was negative.

    “Elisa has had an ownership in Sulake from the beginning and has supported the international expansion of the Habbo Hotel service. The global client base, brand, community platform and solid business competence of Sulake, combined with Elisa’s expertise, provide new future opportunities,” says Mikael Rönnblad, Vice President of Consumer Services Business of Elisa in a press release.