Chinese social media and entertainment giant Tencent is understood to have paid $260 million for a majority stake in Bohemia Interactive, a Czech-based games designer behind the “ArmA” and “DayZ” games series.
The news was reported Wednesday by The Information. Tencent declined to comment.
The move comes barely a week after Tencent paid a reported $65 million (JPY7 billion) for a 20% slice of Japanese games firm Marvelous. The company is behind farming simulation game “Story of Seasons,” which Tencent has been operating for mobile devices in China since last year.
Tencent, which is already the world’s largest games company in revenue terms, owns “League of Legends” developer Riot Games, an 84% stake in Supercell (“Clash of Clans”), 80% of New Zealand’s Grinding Gear Games (“Path of Exile”), 40% of Epic Games, 14.5% of Glu Mobile, 11.5% of Bluehole, and 5% stakes in Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and Paradox Interactive.
Earlier this year Tencent spent $201 million buying control of Funcom, maker of “The Secret World” and “Conan Exiles,” and an undisclosed amount for a minority stake in German studio Yager, maker of “Spec Ops: The Line” and “The Cycle.”
Some games industry analysts have suggested that Tencent is buying games firms as it has a limited games design capacity of its own. Others say that Tencent is intent on fending off NetEase, its biggest rival in China, which is currently raising some $3 billion of fresh capital through a secondary share listing in Hong Kong.
Despite the rash of games industry activity, Tencent may in fact have shifted its focus to other business areas. The company was a beneficiary of the recent lockdown in China caused by the coronavirus outbreak, and it enjoyed particular benefit to its business software lines.
In recent days Tencent has also said that it will invest $70 billion in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity over the next five years. On a recent earnings call, the company said that the coronavirus lockdown had shown the route to accelerated digitalization for many of its client businesses.
Tencent currently has about 18% of China’s cloud computing market, behind China market leader Alibaba, which has a 46% share according to research firm Canalys.