CCP GOES DARK ON COMPANY FINANCIALS

2015-05-16

Submitted by Dirk MacGirk

CCP hf., the developer behind EVE Online,  DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie, has ceased the public disclosure of company financial information. All previously released financial statements were also removed from the company’s website. The decision follows the delisting of CCP’s convertible bonds from public trading in Iceland. As such, CCP is no longer required to release company financial data to the public.

The first indication that something had changed was the delay in the release of the year-end 2014 financial statements. NoizyGamer, an EVE Online player known for investigating real-money trading and botting within the gaming world, brought an article from Nasdaq’s GlobalNewswire to my attention related to the delisting of CCP’s corporate bond issue. Dated April 29, 2015, the short blurb states, “Nasdaq Iceland approved a request submitted by CCP hf. regarding the removal from trading of,” CCP’s corporate bonds. Investigating deeper I found that on March 27, 2015 CCP hf. announced that it was recalling its convertible bonds in accordance with the terms of the bond issue.

As a bit of background, in July 2012 CCP hf. issued $20 million in US dollar denominated convertible bonds with a five-year maturity. These bonds were listed on the Nasdaq OMX Iceland exchange and scheduled for maturity in July 2017. The convertible bonds paid a 7% annual rate of interest, but as the name implies, could be converted into company equity.

News that CCP hf. recalled its bond issue and would cease publicly reporting the company’s financial information opens up many questions. First, how was the debt paid off? Did anything change with regard to the company’s equity structure or major shareholders? Is CCP in the process of being acquired? Will we ever know the truth about EVE Online’s subscriber numbers? These questions are likely to go unanswered and will no doubt fuel speculation surrounding CCP’s financial situation in the wake of major write downs in 2013 and 2014.

I reached out to CCP and received the following from Paul Esly (aka CCP Falcon), Community Manager at CCP Games:

“We are of course aware that our financials for 2014 have not been released, and that CCP’s past financial information has been removed from www.ccpgames.com. This is due to us delisting our bond, which had carried with it several reporting regulations that we’re no longer bound to. As a private company, we generally don’t share our financial information publicly.

As always, players are free to continue to speculate on CCP’s business, but there’s nothing strange afoot.  If any noteworthy changes happen relating to the business of CCP, then you’ll be able to read about it through corporate press releases on www.ccpgames.com, which are typically hosted at http://www.ccpgames.com/en/public-relations/press-releases/.”

I was also told by Adam Kahn, Sr. Director of Communications at CCP, “No need for tinfoil – nothing sinister or strange afoot at CCP!” Although there is nothing sinister or strange with regard to a company recalling a bond issuance or a private company choosing to keep its financial information private, the decision will not likely quell the interest in CCP’s financial health or the subscriber health of games like EVE Online. Interested parties will simply have fewer data points with which to analyze the situation. Let the speculation begin.

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