ABRY puts $400m behind video-game maker

ABRY Partners is banking on new business model -- Brash Entertainment will blur the line between video games and film, TV, and music industries.

Brash Entertainment, a video-game developer that will focus its efforts on high-end video games based on major film and music releases and television, announced its launch today with $400 million (€297 million) in funding from a group led by private equity media specialist ABRY Partners. Other investors include New York Life Capital Partners III, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, and PPM America Private Equity Fund II.

In producing cross-media games, Brash intends to capitalise on specialisation — recruit the best creative people in entertainment and, with the guidance of experienced game producers, put them to work alongside top-notch game builders. “Brash is founded on the simple premise that top Hollywood creativity plus top game talent should equal great games,” Mitch Davis, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Brash, said.

Brash currently has 40 licenses through five major film studios and has 12 games in production, including a PC version of the film “300,” which was produced by Legendary Pictures with Warner Bros. Pictures. Thomas Tull, a co-founder of Brash, is the chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures.

This is the largest investment in a video-game developer since Elevation Partners made its much-awaited first deal in November 2005, in which it committed $300 million to merge game developers Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. and invest in the combined company.

Boston-based ABRY Partners is a media-focused private equity firm currently managing a $900 million fund (closed in March 2005) and has about $2.8 billion of capital under management. In April, ABRY acquired KnowledgePoint360 Group, a worldwide provider of medical communications services.