The war in Ukraine has been one of the great determinants of the electronic sports industry for the last year. The war has also had an impact on the sector, where many tournament organizers have chosen to veto Russian entities that had some kind of economic link with the government of Vladimir Putin. Two of the proper names affected by these measures are Gambit Esports or Virtus.pro, whose sale price has been confirmed in the last few hours.
VK has revealed through the company’s annual report that the sale of Virtus.pro, carried out in the last quarter of the year, was valued at 174 million rubles.. As of March 19, 2023, the change to the currency of the European Union would mean a total value of 2,100,000 euros. The operation, carried out in September 2022, ended the Armenian businessman Aram Karamanukyan as CEO of the esports organization. Previously, Karamanukyan did not have experience in the sector, having previously worked in construction and hospitality.
The sale of Virtus.pro and ESForce, in the crosshairs
Virtus.pro was one of the clubs suspended by the tournament organizers because its parent company, ESForce, was acquired by VK. Since December 2021, the state company Sogaz, one of the corporations that is on the list of entities sanctioned by the European Union, has a part of the shares of VK. Ultimately, the relationship between ESForce and the Kremlin has forced VP players to play under the name “Outsiders”.
However, VK’s sale of Virtus.pro is being targeted by the removal of Aram Karamanukyan. The organization’s new CEO was replaced at the end of the year by Nikolai Pertossian, formerly an ESForce executive.. For many followers, this was a mystery about the true independence of VP in relation to companies with ties to the Kremlin. In addition, the club does not have the approval of some organizers such as ESL when claiming tournaments such as the major from Rio de Janeiro.
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