TikTok bought Mobile Legends: Bang Bang at $4 Billion?
ByteDance the developer of TikTok acquires Mobile Legends publisher Moonton at a reported $4billion valuation.
ByteDance is the developer of the video-sharing social networking services and apps TikTok and Douyin, the Chinese-specific counterpart to TikTok. On November 9, 2017, ByteDance acquired Shanghai-based social media start-up Musical.ly for up to US$1 billion.
They combined it with the prior acquisition, Flipagram, and TikTok on August 2, 2018, into a single global application, keeping the TikTok name.
As of November 2018, ByteDance had over 800 million daily active users (over 1 billion accumulated users) across all of its content platforms.
The company has been estimated to be valued at $180 billion as of November 2020.
ByteDance has garnered public attention over allegations that it worked with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to censor and surveil content pertaining to Xinjiang internment camps and other topics the CCP deemed controversial.
What is Mobile Legends Bang Bang?
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) developed and published by Moonton. Released in 2016, the game has become popular in Southeast Asia and was among the games chosen for the first medal event esports competition at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.
ByteDance stepped further into the video game world this week, with its gaming arm, Nuverse, acquiring the Shanghai games maker Moontoon Technology.
According to Reuters, the acquisition values Moonton at $4 billion. The deal comes as ByteDance — which owns TikTok and its Chinese counterpart, Douyin — is positioning itself as a competitor to the Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent, maker of popular games such as Honor of Kings and League of Legends.
“Through cross-team collaboration and drawing on lessons and insights from its own rapid growth, Moonton provides the strategic support needed to accelerate Nuverse’s global gaming offerings,” ByteDance said in a statement. Reuters noted that the company declined to comment on the size of the acquisition.
Founded by a former Tencent employee, Moonton made a name for itself in Southeast Asia with its multiplayer online game Mobile Legends. Tencent, which is China’s largest gaming and social media company, made its own bid for Moonton, one that was matched by ByteDance, Reuters noted.
PYMNTS reported on ByteDance’s ambitions last year, as it positioned itself as China’s second-biggest platform in terms of digital dollars. The company took in $7.6 billion in 2019, most of it from Douyin. According to reports at the time, ByteDance was looking to invest in eCommerce, search and longer-form videos through its platform Xigua.
Earlier this year, ByteDance announced a mobile payments service for Douyin, allowing users to purchase items from online stores or get virtual gifts for their favorite streamers. The service enables ByteDance to compete with China’s larger payments platforms, such as Alipay from Ant Group and WeChat Pay, a Tencent offering.
ByteDance could go public later this year, according to published reports, with an IPO that could include not just Douyin but also Xigua, the work collaboration tool Feishu and the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao.