M&A Crystal Ball: Where Do We Go From Here?


Hemal Thaker
Goldman Sachs, Global Head of Gaming and Interactive Entertainment Investment Banking

Hemal is a Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co, where he is a member of the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Group, and Global Head of Gaming & eSports Investment Banking.  

Hemal has advised the world’s leading gaming, internet and interactive entertainment companies on a broad range of transactions including mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, private placements, debt financings and raid defense. Notable transactions include: Roblox’s $41.8B direct listing, ironSource’s $11.1B SPAC listing, ZeniMax’s $7.5B sale to Microsoft, Sumo Group’s $1.3B sale to Tencent, Unity’s $1.5B IPO, Glu Mobile’s $2.4B sale to Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive’s $1.0B bid for Codemasters, Playtika’s $1.9B IPO, Corsair Gaming’s $0.2B IPO, Skillz’s $3.5B SPAC listing, Zynga’s $1.7B convertible note offerings, Embracer Group’s $1.7B equity raises, Paradox Interactive’s $0.1B equity raise, and over $6.0B in debt financing for Netflix, among others.

He joined Goldman in 2013 in the firm’s UK M&A Group, prior to assuming various roles in the US Internet, Media & Entertainment Groups.  Hemal earned a MEng degree in Materials Science, Economics & Management from University of Oxford.

Affan Butt
Aream & Co., Founding Partner
Chris Petrovic
FunPlus, Chief Business Officer
Jenna Hardy
Gearbox, CFO

As Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Jenna Hardy leads all of Gearbox Entertainment’s funding strategies and financial planning, including accounting, auditing, and corporate finance. A member of Gearbox’s Executive Team, she joined the studio in 2016 after serving two decades at Warner Bros. and Disney.

In 2021, Ms. Hardy oversaw the financial components of Gearbox’s $1.3 billion acquisition by the Sweden-based Embracer Group. This was one of the largest mergers in video game industry history.

Jenna also pioneered Gearbox’s tracking of value creation through the introduction and implementation of Gearbox’s enterprise accounting system, which she spearheaded both domestically and internationally. This has enabled Gearbox to improve forecasting, cut costs, manage cash flow, and enhance its ROI. Under Ms. Hardy’s leadership, Gearbox can now pursue opportunities to finance and expand the company’s business strategies in fulfillment of its mission.

Hardy, a sought-after public speaker and prominent entertainment industry executive, also serves on the Media Financial Management Association’s Board of Directors.  

Jenna, who is conversant in French, German, Italian, and Spanish, earned her MBA from Rice University and a BS in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University. Hardy also completed a program studying at the internationally recognized emlyon Business School in France. 

This panel is composed of seasoned experts, who have all participated in the recent boom of game industry mergers and acquisitions. Gain insights into the trends expected to drive the space in the coming years, including how transmedia, the metaverse, and blockchain are shaping the ever-evolving landscape.