Casual Game Maker Big Fish Cuts Checks to Shareholders on Way to IPO

Published on October 31, 2011
by Tricia Duryee

Seattle-based Big Fish, which develops and publishes casual games at a rate of one per day, has doled out a hefty dividend to nearly all of its employees.

According to multiple sources, 75 percent of the company’s 500-plus employees received the bonus. The dividend was based on tenure, with some of the longer-term employees receiving as much as $100,000.

Big Fish CEO Jeremy Lewis declined to comment, but confirmed that the dividend was given to shareholders and vested option holders.

The dividend shows that the privately held game maker is flush with cash, and that it may have big plans to come.

Big Fish has been considered an IPO candidate in recent years; the latest rumors hint it could come as soon as next year.

Since being founded 10 years ago, the company has grown quickly. It has hired 50 employees worldwide over the past few months, including new CFO David Stephenson. Prior to the job, Stephenson was VP of finance at

The company specializes in producing games for the casual games market, including puzzles, hidden objects and other strategy games, but has steered clear of the recently popularĀ free-to-play model adopted by newer games companies, like Zynga.

Instead, many of its games are sold through a monthly subscription online or for download on the iPhone and iPad.

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