Talk of Chinese gaming giant Tencent acquiring PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole is once again doing the rounds.
The Korea Times reports that Bluehole previously rejected an acquisition offer prior to the PUBG explosion. However, as Bluehole’s value continues to soar, sources have indicated that shareholders may now be veering back towards the idea of a sale.
Furthermore, such is the extent of PUBG’s success that Tencent is now the only company in the region that would still be able to afford it.
In addition, an IPO remains impossible while Bluehole founder Chang Byung-gyu (who is also its largest shareholder) continues to serve as chairman of the Fourth Industrial Revolution committee, as he would almost certainly face calls of exploiting his position.
Tencent is already believed to own a small stake in Bluehole*, and has larger stakes in a number of other gaming companies such as Epic, Blizzard and Riot.
Chang did not confirm or deny the reports, but did refer to Tencent as PUBG’s Chinese publishing partner – something that was hinted at when reports first emerged of a possible acquisition.
In September Bluehole confirmed that it was in discussions with Tencent about a possible equity acquisition, having just the month before denied such reports.
The news casts more doubt on recent reports of a possible battle royale game ban in China.
Bloomberg previously reported that the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association has declared that PUBG is “too bloody and violent” for sale in the country, “deviates from the values of socialism” and is “deemed harmful to young consumers”.
*UPDATE: A PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds spokesperson has contacted Esports Pro to confirm that Tencent does not own a stake in either Bluehole or the more recently formed PUBG Corp.