It’s hard to put a multiple on it—the numbers aren’t quite clear; EC might have only paid €98m for its original stake, and we don’t know how much they spent on the various acquisitions—I might put an absolute ceiling of 10x at this selling price, and likely smaller. Even at 4x-5x it would be a home run.
It’s certainly possible EC believes we’ve hit peak board games, but I wouldn’t read too much into the sale at this point. Most firms like this come in with a medium-term plan and that's it. A 5-year plan is extremely common—10 years would be a very long plan for a company like EC—and we're right at the 5-year mark, so it’s likely this is falling square on their original intentions.
It is true that if they saw possibilities for further growth multiples, they'd want to hang on for another year or two. But remember EC isn’t really trying to exploit the actual marketplace, they’re also creating most of the value by merging companies. So they’re not just playing the consumer market, they’re also finding underpriced properties and exploiting synergies in the acquisitions. Gobbling up more companies at this point would have lesser and lesser effect, especially as they’ve already got some of the most reliable games.
You also have to consider that if they want to sell, someone has to buy. And at $1.7b, it would take a very serious investor to even consider it. For comparison, Hasbro has a market capitalization of $11b, at this point only 6.5x Asmodée's proposed sale value. (In 2014, it would have been closer to 50x!)