Business News Australia: Animoca Brands buys Perth-based firm Be Media to level up NFT and blockchain plans

Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based gaming company that delisted from the ASX in 2020 before going on to become a unicorn, is doubling down on its push into the Australian NFT (non-fungible token) and blockchain space with the acquisition of a digital strategy and social advertising firm headquartered in Perth for an undisclosed amount.

Called Be Media, the acquired firm will assist Animoca in securing partnerships with major Australian brands by leveraging the gaming company’s existing IP and new decentralised products.

Be Media founder Jordan Fogarty will retain a “significant minority ownership” of the marketing agency and continue in his role as CEO, with responsibility for all business operations.

Fogarty is also an early investor in Animoca Brands and has previously served on the board of OliveX Holdings (NSX: OLX), a fitness metaverse company created and spun out by Animoca.

“I’m honoured to have the opportunity to support cherished Australian brands who want to explore opportunities in this space and introduce their customers to the metaverse, NFTs, and the power of digital property rights,” Fogarty said.

“When I started Be Media in 2013, I did so based on the power of digital to create massive and scalable impact. The ways in which we create that impact has evolved and been refined over the last eight years.

“In joining the Animoca Brands family we will be able to make that impact global and lasting.”

According to Animoca, Be Media has already commenced an “aggressive” hiring process in the fields of blockchain development and project management to support the expanding pipeline of opportunities that the company will handle.

“The acquisition of Be Media will allow Animoca Brands to extend its core capabilities to support the Australian market and beyond.

“There are tremendous opportunities in Australia and the acquisition of Be Media will enhance our ability to work with companies that wish to participate in the exciting opportunities presented by the emerging open metaverse.”

The acquisition builds on Animoca’s aggressive push into the metaverse space, with the company so far having invested in more than 170 NFT-related companies and decentralised projects including Immutable, The Sandbox, Axie Infinity, OpenSea, Dapper Labs and more.

It also follows a $360 million raise completed by the company in January this year, giving Animoca a valuation of more than US$5 billion, as well as the acquisition of racing video game developer Eden Games earlier this month.

It is a major pivot for the firm which was delisted from the ASX in March 2020 after the latter claimed Animoca was non-compliant with listing rules for over a year, including not maintaining continuous disclosure and failing to provide the exchange with compliant reporting documentation.