Online tech giant ByteDance is rumoured to have beaten rival Tencent in the battle to get their hands on gaming studio Montoon Technology.
It emerged on Monday that ByteDance’s video games unit Nuverse has agreed to acquire the Shanghai-based gaming outfit, as it looks to further expand into the video games business.
The deal values the gaming studio – founded by an ex-Tencent employee and most famous in South-east Asia for its multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Mobile Legends – at around $4 billion.
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The acquisition of the video games studio comes as ByteDance, the owner of TikTok and the similar Chinese short video platform Douyin, has made sizeable inroads into the video games business, putting it in direct competition with China's Tencent.
"Through cross-team collaboration and drawing on lessons and insights from its own rapid growth, Moonton provides the strategic support needed to accelerate Nuverse's global gaming offerings," ByteDance said in a statement.
In an internal memo, Yuan Jing, CEO of Moonton, said the company would operate independently from ByteDance after the acquisition, a source said.
It’s thought Tencent, China's biggest video games and social media company, had also made a bid for Moonton but the offer was matched by ByteDance last week.
The acquisition means ByteDance now has a MOBA game under its belt that could compete with Tencent's Honor of Kings and League of Legends, both a cash cow for Tencent.
Since 2017, Tencent and Riot Games have filed multiple lawsuits against Moonton for what they say was copyright infringement.
- Reporting by Reuters