The Rat, the Laser, and the Holy Gib.
Three years ago, Sony Online Entertainment became known as Daybreak Game Company, and announced that they had been acquired by an investment firm known as Columbus Nova. Today, Daybreak seems to be changing that story, insisting that they had never been owned by Columbus Nova in the first place.
In a post on their forums, Daybreak claimed they had falsely implied Columbus’ ownership stating:
From the get-go, Daybreak has been primarily owned by Jason Epstein, a longtime investor who also has investments in a variety of media properties. Jason acquired Daybreak (formerly SOE) in February 2015 and has been the executive chairman and majority owner of the company since that time.
We’re well aware of prior statements from Daybreak indicating our company was acquired by Columbus Nova. We have since clarified that the company was acquired by Jason Epstein when he was a partner at Columbus Nova, which he left in 2017. We’ve also taken steps to clarify those facts on our website and on third-party internet sites to ensure that all of the information currently made available is consistent and accurate.
While this on its own wouldn’t have been anything to bat an eye at, the surrounding details of why this statement had to be made makes things even stranger.
First, Columbus Nova, the investment firm who apparently never acquired Daybreak in the first place, has had their assets frozen by the United States’ Department of Treasury during the targeting of multiple Russian oligarchs earlier this month. One of these oligarchs was Viktor Vekselberg, who owns the Renovo Group, of which Columbus Nova is a subsidiary. While much is still unclear, it at least makes a little bit of sense now why Daybreak would want to be distancing themselves from Nova.
What makes all of this even more questionable however, is Daybreak’s recent announcement that they were laying off several members of their staff. In a response to MMORPG.com, Daybreak said that they were “realigning their workforce to better position the company for the future,” but with everything else that’s going on, it seems like too much of a coincidence.
Daybreak themselves just announced a PS4 port of H1Z1 a few days ago, and it seems weird to imagine a company working on a newer project would lay off a bunch of employees in preparation. Whatever the situation may be, this is a really bizarre and surprisingly deep story, and hopefully however it develops, all those working at Daybreak will be able to relax in the end, one way or another.