SoftBank to buy controlling interest in Supercell Oy

TOKYO, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Japanese investment firm and telecommunications company SoftBank said Tuesday it would buy controlling interest in game maker Supercell Oy for $1.5 billion.

Supercell Oy is a three-year old company that earned revenue of $203,000 in 2011.


But its fortunes soared in 2012 with the release of two games, "Clash of the Clans," and "Hay Day," which are both placed in the category of free games, although players pay for extra features as they play.

The system of giving away a game for free, then charging fees along the way is called "freemium," The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

In Supercell's case, it helped that both "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day" are among the top five grossing applications for Apple's operating system iOS, the Journal said.

SoftBank said it would create a company in Finland, where Supercell is located, that owns 51 percent of Supercell.

That company, not yet named, would be owned 80 percent by SoftBank and 20 percent by GungHo Online Entertainment, a SoftBank subsidiary.

Supercell founder and Chief Executive Officer Ilkka Paananen the goal was to expand Supercell's market beyond North America and Europe. In addition, the deal helps creat "a truly global games company," Paananen said.


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