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Tencent snaps up British video game developer Sumo in US$1.3 billion deal

:China's Tencent will buy British videogame developer Sumo in a US$1.27 billion deal, it said on Monday, adding new titles to its growing portfolio of chart-topping videogames.

Tencent snaps up British video game developer Sumo in US$1.3 billion deal

FILE PHOTO: A Tencent logo is seen in Beijing, China September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

REUTERS -China's Tencent will buy British videogame developer Sumo in a US$1.27 billion deal, it said on Monday, adding new titles to its growing portfolio of chart-topping videogames.

The purchase, which will boost the Chinese internet giant's presence globally, brings together Sumo's racing and snooker games with Tencent's more high-profile range of games that includes Call of Duty's mobile version.

Shareholders in Sheffield-based Sumo will get 513 pence in cash per share, a 43per cent premium to the last price and valuing the company at 919 million pounds, Tencent said, sending Sumo's shares surging 42per cent to a record high.

The deal comes days after China's market regulator decided to block Tencent's plans to merge videogame streaming sites, Huya and DouYu, on antitrust grounds.

It is the second major deal involving a British video game company over the past year, following U.S. video game maker Electronic Arts' deal to buy Britain-based Codemasters.

Tencent, with stakes in companies that make Fortnite and League of Legends, is the world's second-largest videogame group by revenue after Sony.

"Chinese deals may imply a higher regulatory risk, but we see no likely resistance or counterbid," Jefferies analysts said.

EXPERTISE AND RESOURCES

Sumo, which counts Microsoft's Xbox, Amazon Game Studios, Apple, Google and BBC as its clients and partners, has seen its value soar since a 2017 listing on LSE's junior market AIM at 100 pence.

"The Board of Sumo firmly believes the business will benefit from Tencent's broad videogaming eco-system, proven industry expertise and its strategic resources," non-executive chairman Ian Livingstone said.

Tencent owns 8.75per cent and is the second-biggest shareholder in Sumo, which has 14 studios in five countries and released the video games including Hotshot Racing, Sackboy: A Big Adventure and WST Snooker last year.

Sumo's boss Carl Cavers said he and co-founders Paul Porter and Darren Mills would reprise their roles.

"The opportunity to work with Tencent is one we just couldn't miss," said Cavers, who founded the company 18 years ago.

(US$1 = 0.7261 pounds)

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Edmund Blair)

Source: Reuters

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