Almost two years after the intial announcement, Victory five (ESV5) complete the merger with Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and enter the LPL in 2023. The merge was made through an equity swap, and will finally see the NiP brand’s return to LoL Esports.
NIP finally enters the LPL in 2023
The two companies announced on Tuesday that the merger was completed, though the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The merger will help NIP enter China’s esports market and the League of Legends scene.
The new entity will be called “NIP Group”, with ESV5 Chairman Mario Ho and NIP CEO Hicham Chahine serving as the NIP Group’s co-CEOs. The Chiese name, however, will still hold as eStar Gaming Victory Five (星竞威武). According to the press release, the eStar Gaming CEO Sun “XiaOt” Liwei will act as the president of NIP Group, and eStar Gaming will continue to run independently.
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ESV5 is a joint venture between eStar Gaming and Victory Five (V5) based in Wuhan. Founded by Ho, the team competed in the Chinese League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in the last three years, achieving the best result of third in the 2022 LPL Spring Playoffs.
With the merge completed, V5 has rebranded to NIP for the 2023 LPL Spring Season, keeping V5 roster and management intact. NIP will become the first Western team brand in LPL and will compete on Jan. 15 in their debut match against Ultra Prime.
Ninjas in Pyjamas mark their return to League
NIP is a known esports organization that mainly competes in FPS esports titles like VALORANT, Rainbow Six Siege and CS:GO. NIP previously also participated in the EU LCS, on two different occasions.
In 2013, they first acquired the former roster of the Copenhagen Wolves, which included players like Bjergsen, Svenskeren and Deficio, and competed until the end of 2014. Then, NIP made a return in 2017 but the team was relegated from the EU LCS after only one split. The team continued competing in the European Masters circuit until the end of 2018.
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After four years, NIP will make their way into the League competitions for the third time, renaming the Victory Five brand with its own. Being the biggest cross-border merger acquisition in esports’ history, it will be intriguing to see how the new NIP Group will tackle both the Chinese and the western markets.