In one of the largest social games deals ever, Japanese firm DeNA plans to buy Silicon Valley iPhone games developer Ngmoco for $400 million (€286 million).
It is the latest in a series of offshore buys by DeNA, which has a market cap of $4 billion and aims to be a global player, New York Times reports.
“The big tide in social gaming is coming, right now,” founder and CEO Tomoko Namba said in an interview. “We’d like to capture it and quickly become the world’s No. 1 mobile gaming platform.”
That puts it head to head with Google, which has taken a stake in social games firm Zynga, Facebook and Disney.
The deal confirms the massive demand for iPhone games, and also means Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has already recouped all of its $100 million investment in an iPhone apps fund.
Ngmoco, founded two years ago by former Electronic Arts executive Neil Young, says its games have been downloaded more than 60 million times onto iPhones. It is about to start developing Android-based games.
DeNA has 100 million PC and mobile customers and operates the popular Mobage Town mobile platform, which has 20 million users.
Taking advantage of the lower US dollar, it has bought several US games firms in the past two months, including Gameview Studio Aurora Feint and Astro Ape.
DeNA is planning integrate its Mobage software with Ngmoco’s own social networking platform, called Plus+, which runs on Apple devices and smartphones that use Google’s Android system, the Times reported.
DeNA posted revenue of about 48 billion yen (€418 million) last year, which CEO Namba predicts will double this year.