Japanese Softbank is selling shares in Supercell for over $8 billion to Tencent.
Chinese Tencent takes majority ownership in high flying mobile game company Supercell. In the deal Tencent will acquire up to 84% of Supercell in a transaction valuing the Company at an equity value of approximately USD 10.2 billion.
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Following the transaction, Supercell will be owned Tencent and Supercell’s employees. The shares come from SoftBank, who appears to make a huge return on its Supercell investment.
Supercell will retain its independent operations, the headquarters will remain in Helsinki, Finland and its existing team will continue to run all operations of the Company. To focus on continued success, every employee is already an equity holder in Supercell and the partnership with Tencent will significantly enhance this commitment. Every employee will take part in a new long-term incentive plan, and will be able to sell their vested shares annually to Tencent.
The transaction, which is currently expected to close during the third calendar quarter of 2016, is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.
SoftBank will no longer own any shares in Supercell following closing.
Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., said: “We have enjoyed an outstanding relationship with Ilkka and the Supercell team, and it has been our privilege to be part of Supercell’s incredible growth story. Over the life of our investment, Supercell has operated as an independent company, and its unique culture of independent teams has proven itself repeatedly. I have great respect for Tencent and its leadership in games, and believe that with its commitment to respect Supercell’s independence, Tencent represents the ideal partner to take Supercell’s business to the next level. Our decision to divest our shares is driven by our continued focus on monetization for the benefit of our shareholders and on capital structure discipline, both key pillars of our SoftBank 2.0 strategy."
Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, said: “Today is about chasing a future for Supercell that we have always dreamed of. We founded Supercell to make great games that people all over the world would play for decades and become part of the rich history of games. We've made excellent progress - over the past six years, we’ve created four top games that are now played by over 100 million people every single day. Tencent’s investment secures what has made all of this possible, which is our independence and unique culture of small and independent teams. We want Supercell to be the world’s best place for creative people to create games. At the same time, this new partnership offers us exciting growth opportunities in China, where we will be able to reach hundreds of millions of new gamers via Tencent’s channels.”
Martin Lau, President of Tencent, said: “Supercell is known for its creativity, focus on player experience, and unique culture, which have enabled it to create innovative mobile games that are wildly popular globally. Tencent is dedicated to building long-term strategic partnerships with leading game companies. We are excited that Supercell is joining our global network of game partners, and will preserve their independence and enhance their advantages, thus bringing even more exciting gaming experiences to players around the world. It is important to us that Supercell stays true to its roots by sustaining its unique culture, continuing to be headquartered in Finland, and representing its home proudly.”
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Supercell, based in Helsinki, Finland was founding in 2010. Supercell has brought four top games to the market - Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Clash Royale, each of them have made it top-10 grossing globally, two of which have been #1 games. Today, these games are played by more than 100 million people every day.