Foundation 9 was formed on March 29, 2005 through the merger of Backbone Entertainment, The Collective. and Oregon-based developer Pipeworks Software. Afterward, on May 26, 2005, F9E announced a partnership with Circle of Confusion. Unlike F9E's other studios, which primarily work in software development, Circle of Confusion is a production and management company that represents creative staff in entertainment.
On June 1, 2006 Foundation 9 received $150 million from Francisco Partners, a private equity firm. Foundation 9 announced the acquisition of Shiny Entertainment on October 2, 2006, Amaze Entertainment on November 14, 2006, and Sumo Digital on August 17, 2007. On May 25, 2007, the Charlottetown, PEI studio of Foundation 9 constituent Backbone Entertainment was spun off to become Other Ocean Interactive.
Other subsidiaries include ImaginEngine (part of Backbone Entertainment) and, formerly, Griptonite Games (part of Amaze Entertainment). Digital Eclipse is not a studio under the Foundation 9 hierarchy, as all games under the Digital Eclipse brand were developed at the Backbone Entertainment studios. Digital Eclipse was originally one of the core companies that came together to form Backbone, the progenitor of F9E.
The Collective and Shiny were merged in late 2007 and relocated to a new 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) headquarters in Irvine. The resultant studio was named Double Helix in early 2008. In May 2009, Foundation 9 completed the closure of its Vancouver, Canada-based studio of Backbone Entertainment, after a series of staff cutbacks beginning September 2008. In July 2009, Foundation 9 closed The Fizz Factor, its Texas-based studio. Amaze was consolidated under Griptonite at the same time, and Double Helix scaled back its operations. In August 2011, Foundation 9 sold Griptonite to Glu Mobile.
The original CEO of Foundation 9 was Jon Goldman, who came from Backbone, and founder of ImaginEngine. Upon the acquisition of Amaze, he was joined by COO David Mann, a co-founder of Amaze, who, on January 16, 2008, assumed the position of President. As of March 17, 2008, James North-Hearn, one of Sumo Digital's founders, has assumed the CEO position.
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