Turkey advancing in digital transformation: Report

Turkey has upped its game in digital transformation this year with a score of 3.06 out of five compared to 2.94 last year, according to a report from Turkey’s Informatics Industry Association (TUBISAD) on Tuesday.

Despite showing year-on-year improvement in all the components of the index, Turkey ranks in the average category in digitalization globally, the report said.

The virtual meeting announcing the report said Turkey should make rapid strides in digital transformation in order to benefit from the new opportunities.

Mehmet Fatih Kacir, deputy minister of industry and technology, said the country was focused on self-sufficiency and digital transformation.

Turkey’s strong infrastructure in technology production was testament in its fight against coronavirus, he added.

He highlighted that the number of R&D professionals in the country reached 172,000 in 2018, up from 54,000 in 2006.

“The share of R&D expenditures in our GDP was around 0.5% in 2006, it reached 1% last year,” Kacir said.

Kubra Erman Karaca, the head of TUBISAD, said Turkey’s capacity to utilize new technologies varies greatly according to regions, sectors and firm types.

Pointing to the virus crisis, Karaca said “post-pandemic economic order will be much more dependent on the use of technology than before.”

Zynga to buy Turkish mobile game maker Peak for $1.8B in its largest acquisition

Global gaming giant Zynga announced Monday that it had agreed to buy the Turkish mobile gaming company Peak for $1.8 billion (TL 12 billion) in what will be the FarmVille maker’s biggest-ever acquisition to date.

With the agreement, Zynga will add popular puzzle video games Toon Blast and Toy Blast to its portfolio and is expected to increase its daily average users by more than 60%, Frank Gibeau, chief executive officer of Zynga said.

Gibeau said the purchase will also strengthen the company’s international audience strongly.

Toy Blast and Toon Blast are one of the most popular mobile puzzle games with more than 200 million and 100 million downloads to date, respectively.

“With the addition of Toon Blast and Toy Blast, we are expanding our live services portfolio to eight forever franchises, meaningfully increasing our global audience base and adding to our exciting new game pipeline. As a combined team, we are well-positioned to grow faster together,” said Gibeau.“Peak is one of the world’s best puzzle game makers, and we could not be more excited to add such creative and passionate talent to our company.”

Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said the sale was a very important development for Turkey’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“I congratulate the first Turkish unicorn or ‘Turcorn,'” Varank said on his Twitter account.

The company said it expects these games to “be an additional driver of margin expansion over the coming years,” a statement released by the company said. The statement added that Peak will also help Zynga to enhance its new game pipeline with additional projects in early development.

The deal will comprise $900 million in cash and $900 million in stock and will be completed in the third quarter, according to a statement released by Zynga.

The gaming giant will pay Peak’s owners 114 million shares priced at $7.92, the volume-weighted average closing price per share over the 30-day trading period, a Bloomberg report said. Gibeau told Bloomberg that Zynga will have $600 million in cash on its balance sheet after the acquisition.

Shares of the company were up 6.2% at $9.72 in trading before the bell.

It is by far the company’s biggest buying to date, followed by its purchase of the majority state of Finland’s Small Giant Games for $560 million in 2018, according to Bloomberg data. The company also acquired another Istanbul-based mobile gaming company Gram Games for $250 million in 2018.

Sidar Şahin, who founded Peak in 2010 with the support of venture capital firms Endeavor Catalyst, Earlybird Venture Capital and Hummingbird Ventures, said the deal was “a monumental partnership not only for Zynga and Peak but for the whole mobile gaming industry.”

“Both companies share a common vision – to bring people together through games. Peak’s culture is rooted in relentless learning and progress, so as we embark on this new chapter in our journey together with Zynga, we remain as committed as ever to our unique culture. We’re very excited about our combined future and what we will accomplish together,” Şahin said.

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.