Gree acquires fellow Japanese games firm for $173M

Japanese mobile games giant agrees to buy all shares of Pokelab in a bid to strengthen its development of mobile social games for smartphones.

Japanese Web media and mobile games giant, Gree, has added another games developer, Pokelabo, under its wing for 13.8 billion yen (US$173 million).

Established in 2007, Pokelab (or Pocket Laboratory) develops mobile social games. Gree agreed to buy all its shares, stating the acquisition will strengthen its development of mobile social games for smartphones, according to its Japanese press statement Wednesday.

The Pokelab deal is the latest of Gree's acquisition spree in recent months. It bought U.S.-based mobile game developers , App Ant Studios and Funzio, in September and May, respectively.

The news comes just a day after U.S. competitor and social mobile game giant, Zynga, announced it was undergoing cost-cutting measures to regain profitability, including possible plans to shut its Japanese outlet.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said in a blog post his company would slash 5 percent of its workforce, or about 150 staff, and was considering closing its offices in Japan and the United Kingdom. The Boston office has already been shut.

Pincus also said Zynga will discontinue 13 of its older game titles.