Swedish authorities raid Starbreeze Studios suspecting insider trading

The Walking Dead developer Starbreeze Studios has been raided by Swedish authorities. The company, also responsible for the Payday franchise, was raided Wednesday morning on suspicion of insider trading. One suspect was arrested, with authorities having yet to release their name. Computers and financial documents were also seized from the Starbreeze Stockholm headquarters. Press officer Niklas Ahlgren, of the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, released the following statement:

This morning officials from the Swedish Economic Crime Authority raided the offices of Starbreeze in Stockholm. One person was arrested and items were seized. The raid is part of an ongoing investigation involving suspected insider trading.

Swedish Economic Crime Authority officials seize computers and documents at Starbreeze Studios in Stockholm.

Starbreeze fully cooperating during raid

Another statement indicated that a search query has been conducted at Starbreeze AB. The Swedish Economic Crime Authority has informed Starbreeze that this query is indeed due to suspected insider trading charges. As such, the company itself is not subject to any suspicion – meaning that this is being treated as an independent act and not an indication on the company itself. The statement also asserts that Starbreeze is cooperating fully with the SECA, and that the event doesn’t affect the company’s other ongoing business.

Translation: “The Financial market Chamber at EBM has today carried out several houses searches regarding suspicions of serious insider dealing with links to the gaming company Starbreeze. One of Hyy’s Rannsakningarna has been carried out at Starbreeze office in central Stockholm. A person is deprived of liberty.”

From this raid to insolvency and its CEO stepping down, Starbreeze is sailing in challenging waters.

Worst timing ever?

This raid comes just days after Starbreeze filed for reconstruction, with its CEO Bo Andersson stepping down in the process. This move was due largely in part to a series of flops on the company’s part regarding game titles. The largest of these flops was the first-person shooter Overkill’s The Walking Dead. This will lead to a predicted cash shortfall for next year. Starbreeze states that this is a decision “based on a shortage of liquidity” and essential in the process of the company getting the time needed to determine a financial solution.

Among other development successes, Starbreeze also achieved publishing acclaim in Dead by Daylight.

Better days behind for Starbreeze?

Starbreeze Studios seems to be in dire straits, but it wasn’t always. The studio is primarily famed for Payday 2, a massive commercial success and by far its most critically acclaimed title. The developer earned a profit on presales alone, attracting investors and later porting the game to consoles. Starbreeze also published Dead by Daylight, which became profitable one week after its release by selling 270,000 units. The studio, additionally, received universal acclaim with its third-person adventure game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The puzzle game earned a 90/100 on Metacritic and a perfect score on Joystiq, with IGN and PC Gamer stating that it was one of the best games of 2013.

This raid, coupled with its other troubles, may foretell an uncertain future in Starbreeze. What are your thoughts on this breaking news? Are you a Starbreeze fan? Let us know!

Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. Competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.