Biggest chess investment ever

The Play Magnus Group is the first ever chess company that is going public. With an evaluation of NOK 1,1 billion (€ 100 million) it starts to trade this Thursday at the Oslo Stock Exchange. Questions and answers by Conrad SchormannStefan Löffler and financial journalist Thorsten Cmiel.

This Thursday Magnus Carlsen will be watching attentively how Play Magnus fares on its first day at the stock exchange. (Lennart Ootes / Altibox Norway Chess)

Why is the Play Magnus Group turning to the stock exchange? To finance growth. New investors bring in money to drive developments, expand to new markets, and acquire other companies. For the future, the company now has its own currency: shares. Shares can be used to pay staff, attract new talent or make aquisitions.

The Play Magnus shares will be traded on a special segment of the Oslo Stock Exchange. What is behind the “Merkur market”? Stock exchanges usually have several segments that apply different regulations. The Merkur market is Oslo’s beginner’s segment for young companies. If a company is growing and its share price is performing well, it can move up to a higher index, which will then attract bigger funds and international investors. Publication requirements in the Merkur market are not quite as high as for the bigger, more established companies, who have to report every quarter. One reason why going public on the Merkur market is quicker and cheaper is that it doesn’t require a sales prospectus. Play Magnus has published a press release and is answering questions from potential investors and journalists. We spoke to Sebastian Kuhnert, the Chief Coordinating Officer (CCO), and Dmitri Shneider, the Chief Financial Officer, answered questions by email.

Kuhnert told ChessTech in an earlier interview in April “it’s neither a good time nor are there concrete plans right now” for bringing Play Magnus on the stock exchange. What has changed? The moment seems good because Play Magnus is reporting fast growth, and the Oslo stock exchange is seeing a lot of initial public offerings (IPO) at the moment. Last week three new companies were listed. This Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each saw an IPO, making Play Magnus the fourth in this week alone. The process of going public was started in June on initiative by investors.

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