TikTok maker ByteDance announced on Monday its biggest video game acquisition to date with Moonton Technology, which is being bought for an undisclosed amount by the company’s Nuverse studio, netting the tech giant one of the biggest mobile games in Southeast Asia as it seeks to rival Tencent Holdings as an equal in the industry, reported the South China Morning Post.
Moonton is the maker of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, which surpassed 1 billion downloads in November, according to the company. The acquisition gives ByteDance what could be its first esports-calibre title, something it has been lacking as it has sought to monetize its large social media user base through other channels, a strategy successfully deployed by Tencent.
“Moonton is definitely ByteDance’s best purchase as yet, whether in terms of scale or reputation in the industry,” said Liao Xuhua, a gaming analyst with Beijing-based market research firm Analysys. “In the short term, Moonton can very effectively strengthen ByteDance’s gaming business.”
Sources told Reuters the deal values Moonton at $4 billion. Liao estimated that the deal could be close to $5 billion.