SoftBank to buy Finnish mobile games maker in a £960m deal

City A.M. Reporter
JAPANESE tech and telecoms group SoftBank is to buy a majority stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell, sharing the ¥150bn (£960.09m) price tag with subsidiary GungHo Online Entertainment.

SoftBank said yesterday that the funding for a 51 per cent stake would be split 80-20 with GungHo, with the deal valuing the Finnish company at $3bn.

Supercell makes games for tablets and smartphones and is best known for hit titles Clash of Clans and Hay Day. The games reached number one in Apple’s App Store in 137 and 96 countries respectively, SoftBank said, citing app analytics firm AppAnnie.

The deal suggests SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son’s appetite for foreign M&A has not dimmed since his ambitious $21.6bn acquisition of US mobile carrier Sprint this year.

The company now has the third largest market capitalisation in Japan and is set for a major windfall as Alibaba, China’s top online retailer in which it owns a 36.7 per cent stake, is preparing for a stock market listing.

Supercell chief executive Ilkka Paananen said in a blog post on his company’s website that the deal would enable the Finnish company to make its mark in Asia and around the world.

“The multiples on the deal look very reasonable,” said Nathan Ramler, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Securities in Tokyo.