SoftBank and GungHo to purchase 51% of Supercell
Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank and video game corporation GungHo Online Entertainment have agreed a deal worth $1.5 billion (€1.2 billion) to purchase 51% of Finnish video game development company Supercell.
Despite having just two games on the market and only 100 staff employed, the deal values Supercell at £3 billion, higher than that of fellow online gaming firm Zynga.
The two games Supercell has launched so far are the highly successful titles Clash of the Clans and Hay Day.
Although the games are free to download, they allow players to spend money whilst playing in order to speed up action in the game.
As a result of this strategy, the two games have helped Supercell generate an operating profit of $106 million and revenue of $179 million in the first quarter alone.
“The new partnership will accelerate Supercell towards our goal of being the first truly global games company, and gives us time to get there,” Supercell’s chief executive officer, Ilkka Paananen, said.
“We want to build a company that people all over the globe will look back in 30 years and talk about all the great games that we developed and the impact they had on people’s lives.”
Owing to its focus on Apple devices, Supercell faces a challenge of breaking into the Asian gaming market due to the usage of Android devices throughout the continent.
However, having already worked on an in-game collaboration with Gungho, the creator of Puzzle & Dragons, the new deal will give Supercell further opportunities to crack the Japanese market.
SoftBank signalled its commitment to the gaming sector earlier this year when it increased its investment in Gungho, which was founded by the brother of Masayoshi Son, founder and chief executive officer of SoftBank.
“In our quest to become the number one mobile internet company, we scour the globe in search of interesting opportunities and right now some of the most exciting companies and innovations are coming out of Finland. Supercell is one of those rare companies,” Son wrote on Supercell’s blog.