Chinese internet company Tencent owns 40 percent of Epic Games
In an e-mail to Polygon, Epic founder Tim Sweeney revealed that Chinese publishing giant Tencent purchased 48.4 percent of Epic Games’ issued share capital in July, “equating to 40 percent of total Epic capital” and giving the company the right to appoint two representatives to Epic’s board. The deal was announced last June, but the details didn’t come out until after Tencent’s 2012 annual report was published this week.
“As part of the investment, two Tencent representatives joined Epic’s board of directors, in addition to the three directors and two observers appointed by Epic,” Sweeney tells Polygon. “We’re thrilled to have a world-leading partner in Tencent, who gives Epic unique access to the Chinese market as we head into the next chapter of our 21-year history as a leading independent developer.”
As Polygon notes, several long-time Epic employees, including Cliff Bleszinski and Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson, left the company in the months after the deal, but we are not aware of any direct evidence of a connection.
Epic isn’t Tencent’s only US investment—it acquired Riot Games in 2011, and notes in its 2012 report: “Our business is increasingly benefitting [sic] from investments we have made in companies whose products or services are complementary to our own. For example, Riot Games’ LoL has attained widespread popularity, strengthening our game portfolio in China and broadening our game revenue internationally.”
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