SoftBank buys majority stake in mobile games maker Supercell

In Other News - October 17th, 2013

Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp is set to acquire a 51% stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell.

SoftBank agreed to pay 150 billion yen ($1.5 billion) for the majority stake of the company which developed hit games Clash of Clans and Hay Day.

As part of the deal, Japanese game company GungHo Online Entertainment, which is partially owned by SoftBank, will invest 20%, or $300 million. GungHo has been collaborating with Supercell on a number of games.

Supercell is valued at $3 billion, more valuable than Zynga Inc, the $2.8 billion company behind popular online game FarmVille.

Ikka Paananen, Supercell’s founder and chief executive, said the investment would help the company expand into more international markets, particularly in Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.

“The combination of tablets, mobile and the free-to-play business model has created a new market for games,” Paananen said in a blog post Tuesday. “The strategic investment from SoftBank helps us to accelerate toward our goal.”

The deal is the latest acquisition by SoftBank as Masayoshi Son, its chief executive, ramps up his appetite for foreign M&A.

He acquired a 78% stake in Sprint Corp for $21.6 billion in July. SoftBank shelled out another $500 million between August and September to raise its Sprint stake to about 80%.

Son was quoted on Supercell’s blog as saying the acqusition was part of its “quest to become the #1 mobile Internet company,” reflecting his ambition to expand further beyond its main wireless and Internet services business.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image from Clash of Clans: SimonQ錫濛譙/Flickr