Tencent takes major stake in Singapore game company

Chinese Internet giant wraps up deal to invest US$27 million for 49 percent stake in Level Up, as part of wider push into overseas games business.

Chinese Internet services provider Tencent has acquired Singapore game company Level Up, closing the deal it had announced in January.

According to a report Thursday by Technode,
Tencent had confirmed the completion of the deal in its semi-annual report, where it would invest US$26.95 million for a 49 percent stake in the eight-year-old studio.

In its January announcement, the Chinese company had said the investment would align well with its long term strategy to cooperate with leading local Internet companies in emerging markets.

"As a strategic partner with local market expertise and extensive experience in Brazil and the Philippines, Level Up would help the company identify further opportunities in the online game sector in those specific markets," said Tencent in the statement.

According to Tencent, Level Up had made a net profit of US$3.7 million for its financial year 2010, nearly triple from the previous year. Among the studio's published game titles include Perfect World and Combat Arms.

The acquisition represents a further push into the gaming market for the Chinese company behind the popular QQ messenging and game platform in China. Last month, Tencent partnered entertainment software publisher Activision Blizzard to bring its shooter game, Call of Duty Online, to the domestic market. This followed its investment in Epic Games--developer of the Unreal game engine and top title Gears of War--for a minority stake in June.

In its latest results Wednesday, Tencent showed that online video game sales rose 53 percent to 5.6 billion yuan (US$879 million) for the three months ended June from the previous year.

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