Time Warner Bets On Mobile Games
Media conglomerate Time Warner has made a $7.5 million investment in Glu Mobile, the privately held mobile gaming company.
In a move related to the investment, Andy Heller, president of domestic distribution for Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, has joined Glu’s board of directors. Heller also heads Turner’s GameTap broadband video game network, due to launch in October.
Glu also named Dan Skaff, founder of venture capital firm Sienna Ventures, lead director. It currently has no board chairman.
Glu, which will use the money to continue its global expansion, already publishes video games based on characters from Turner’s Cartoon Network.
Among such offerings is Glu’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Destruct-O-Thon” mobile game based on characters from Cartoon Network’s popular “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” program.
“It is an opportunity for us to have a window into the space,” Heller said in a telephone interview to discuss the investment. He added that Time Warner is looking at expanding into the game business as well as expanding its mobile offerings.
Glu Chief Executive Greg Ballard called the capital infusion from Time Warner strategically significant for the mobile game industry, which has been raising its profile with mobile phone carriers and media companies.
Glu, which also produces ring tones and “wallpaper” for mobile phones, in May received about $20 million in follow-on venture capital in a funding round led by Granite Global Ventures. Also participating were existing investors BA Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Globespan Capital Partners and Sienna Ventures.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., Glu was formerly called Sorrent. Sorrent bought Macrospace in December 2004 for an undisclosed sum and in June of this year rebranded both companies under the Glu Mobile name.
Glu also has deals with video game company Atari, Nickelodeon and News Corp. units Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Sports.
Time Warner in 2003 formed its Warner Bros’ Online wireless group and has since signed deals with major mobile carriers in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Its mobile titles include “Batman Begins” and “Constantine.”
Shares of Time Warner closed down 19 cents, or just over 1 percent, to close at $17.81 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday.