By Dr. Serkan Toto – On Japan's Game Industry

DeNA Buys 20% Of Rage Of Bahamut Maker Cygames For US$92 Million [Social Games]


Surprise in Japan’s social gaming industry today: DeNA announced it plans to acquire a 20.03% stake in Tokyo-based Cygames, the company behind card battle game mega hit Rage Of Bahamut.

The deal is scheduled to close next month. Mobage operator DeNA is ready to pay a whopping US$92 million (7.4 billion yen) for the stake.

For perspective, the amount means that Cygames’ valuation is slightly higher than that of competitor gloops, which Nexon acquired for US$469 million just last month. No wonder: in July this year, Cygames boasted over 10 million users worldwide, and the number is probably closer to 15 million today.

What I find noteworthy about the deal, apart from the size, is that Cygames isn’t a private company but a wholly owned subsidiary of CyberAgent, a listed (and large-cap) company with its own ambitious goals in social gaming.

CyberAgent runs its own,Ameba-powered, mobile social gaming platform in Japan- in other words, a direct Mobage competitor. CyberAgent has just reported handsome financial results, so it doesn’t appear to need the money either.

DeNA points out that this isn’t just an investment deal but a business partnership, but Cygames became a partner in February this year already, when the company chose to distribute Rage Of Bahamut on Mobage (DeNA points that out, too).

It looks like DeNA wanted to tighten the grip on Cygames and offered a deal CyberAgent couldn’t say no to. US$92 million seems to be the price to keep Cygames “chained” to Mobage.

CyberAgent launched Cygames as a wholly owned subsidiary in June 2011, which shows how fast things move in social games in Japan. It’s one of the company’s nine mobile app/game subsidiaries.

About the author

Dr. Serkan Toto

I am the CEO & Founder of Tokyo-based Kantan Games Inc., an independent consultancy focused on Japan’s game industry.

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By Dr. Serkan Toto – On Japan's Game Industry