Tencent, China’s dominant internet and games company, is thought to have spent around $400 million for a controlling share of Los Angeles studio Riot Games.
The move demonstrates Tencent’s ambition to expand aggressively in the west, having already cemented its position as a dominant online company in China.
Independent data suggests Tencent has a colossal 20 per cent share of China’s online gaming market. The firm has already established an office in California – yet the Riot Games buyout sets the stage for an aggressive expansion across the US.
Riot Games’ breakthrough title is the PC MMO League of Legends, which the studio both developed and published.
Tencent did not disclose financial details of the acquisition, though a report suggests the firm spent as much as $400 million.
“Tencent, which had already invested in the game maker, will pay ‘just south’ of $400 million to buy out other investors, primarily Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital, which along with angels had put approximately $18 million into the company,” read an unconfirmed All Things Digital report.
The article also claimed studio management “will receive some portion of that buyout themselves, but will also retain an equity stake”.
“Some will receive stay packages,” it added.
These claims have not been verified, though Tencent has revealed it will be a majority stakeholder in the company, though not a 100 per cent owner.