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Tencent buys 14.6pc stake in Kardashian game maker Glu for US$126 million

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 April, 2015, 9:35am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 April, 2016, 12:58pm

Tencent, the world's largest gaming company by revenue, has agreed to buy a 14.6 per cent stake in Glu Mobile, the US-based maker of so-called "freemium" smartphone games, for US$126 million.

Glu Mobile produces the hugely popular Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game, which earned more than US$43 million in its first three months of operation with around 23 million players.

Following the news, shares of Glu jumped 21 per cent to US$6.53 in after-hours trading.

Glu, which posted better-than-expected first quarter results this week, also announced an eight-year partnership with singer Britney Spears, with the first Britney game due to be released in early 2016.

READ MORE: China to overtake US as world's largest mobile gaming market by 2016

Though not particularly known as a gaming company in the West, according to research firm Newzoo, Tencent was the No 1 gaming company worldwide by revenue in 2014, raking in more than US$7.2 billion thanks in part to its majority shareholdings in companies such as Riot Games, producers of League of Legends. The company has also had great success with games that run on its mobile messaging platform WeChat.

This week, Tencent announced plans to launch its own mobile operating system, TOS+, in a direct challenge to rivals Alibaba and Xiaomi.

Based on Google's Android software, TOS+ will build on Tencent's strengths in online gaming by supporting video game consoles, smart televisions, and smart glasses, including virtual reality devices.