Virtus.pro sale officially disclosed
On September 9th, 2022, Virtus.Pro announced that Armenian investor Aram Karamanukyan was now the new CEO and primary investor in the organization. Many doubted the original sale announcement, believing it to be an arms-length deal to circumvent the restrictions placed against the organization.
Infamously, Virtus.Pro have been forced to participate under a neutral tag called "Outsiders" since the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine. The now-Armenian organization had resisted the tag at first, even calling measures of renaming the organization "cancel culture" despite having ties to the Russian government and to sanctioned entities.
Earlier this week, VK Group, which has extensive ties to the Russian government, revealed by escorenews in the company's financial report for 2022, that it had sold Virtus.Pro to Aram Karamanukyan for 174 Million rubles ($2.9M USD). The company also noted that the deal only resulted to a profit of 13 million rubles, which translates to $217,000 USD at the time of sale.
Virtus.Pro have continued to use the Outsiders tag for CS:GO, however they are now using their namesake brand in Dota 2 and Rainbow Six: Siege. When escorenews contacted ESL to explain why they have not allowed Virtus.Pro to return to their old name, ESL gave the following explanation;
We have been reviewing the recent changes in the structure and ownership of Virtus.pro and are currently in the process of finalizing this review. If any announcements come out of this, then these will be made in due course.
This statement was provided on March 4, two weeks before the public learned that Virtus.pro was officially sold.
Of course, the situation remains complicated and the optics of the sale became even more clouded when Virtus.pro hired Nikolay Petrossian, the former CEO of ESforce and former owner of Virtus.pro, as the new CEO. It looks like it was almost too good to be true.
With the sale finalized, we might expect the Virtus.pro brand come back should BLAST and ESL FACEIT recognize the termination and official separation from sanctioned entities.