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GTA publisher Rockstar buys KBC video game developer Dhruva

Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar Games has acquired Swedish developer Starbreeze AB’s 91.82% stake in Bengaluru-headquartered video game studio Dhruva Interactive for over ₹55 crore. Founded in 1997 by Rajesh Rao, Dhruva Interactive is claimed to be India’s first-ever game development studio. It is best known for its games Kaun Banega Crorepati, N64 Mission: Impossible & Forza Horizon.

New York-headquartered Rockstar Games Inc. has acquired Indian development studio Dhruva Interactive Pvt. Ltd from Swedish developer Starbreeze AB, the companies said on Monday.

According to a statement posted on Starbreeze’s website, it has agreed to sell its 91.82% stake in Dhruva – a division of Dhruva Infotech (P) Ltd – for $7.9 million (about Rs 55.80 crore at current exchange rates).

Starbreeze had acquired 90.5% of Dhruva in December 2016 for $8.5 million (Rs 57.6 crore then).

According to the statement, 15% of the transaction amount will be held in escrow for 36 months. The deal is likely to close before the end of June.

In a separate statement, Rockstar India studio manager Daniel Smith said the acquisition would help boost the studio’s capabilities. “Dhruva Interactive has been a beacon of Indian game development for decades & we are excited to bring them into the Rockstar family,” he said.

Separately, Dhruva founder & chief executive officer Rajesh Rao said the sale was proof that the studio had built a team that could “contribute to the best games in the world”. Rao will also advise Rockstar India on the game development community in the country.

Founded in 1997, Bengaluru-based Dhruva has a staff strength of around 300 people. The company provides end-to-end game client & server development services for mobile phones, tablets & personal computers. It has developed PC & mobile games like the N64 Mission: Impossible, Forza Horizon & Kaun Banega Crorepati.