[THE INVESTOR] Chinese internet and game giant Tencent Holdings has obtained less than 5 percent stake in Bluehole Studio, a Korean game developer best known for the hugely popular “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” for about 70 billion won (US$61 million), according to news reports on Sept. 28.
Tencent had sought to acquire a controlling stake but the Korean firm declined citing its abundant cash flow. The stake is believed to have been purchased from some venture capital firms.
Currently, Chang Byung-gyu, the founder of Bluehole Studio, owns a 20.4 percent stake, while three venture capital companies Altos Ventures, IMM Investment and PremierPartners hold a combined 15 percent.
Most of the venture capital firms contacted by Tencent are said to have declined its purchase offer considering the soaring popularity of “Battlegrounds.”
The shooting game, launched in April this year, has sold more than 10 million copies as of early this month. Industry watchers predict its sales could have exceeded the 400 billion won.
“There is a joke within the industry that venture capital firms now can be divided into two groups -- those who have Bluehole stake and those who don’t,” a local venture capitalist said of the hot stock. “Investors are making all-out efforts to own its shares.”
The unlisted Bluehole shares were trading at 740,000 won on the off-board market as of Sept. 28, almost doubling from a month ago.