Tencent Makes Funcom Bid; Dune Scope May Expand

Chinese tech giant Tencent announces their intentions to take full ownership of Funcom, the Norwegian developer of Conan Exiles, Secret World Legends, Anarchy Online, and more. They are already part owner of Funcom, and are making an all-cash offer for the remainder, an offer that's been met with enthusiasm by Funcom's CEO and board. Word is that Tencent does not plan any changes to the studio's operations. In light of this news, Funcom announces plans to expand the scope of their upcoming Dune game. Here's the announcement:
Tencent has today announced a voluntary cash offer to acquire all shares in Norwegian game developer Funcom. Tencent, a leading Internet company with a strong online games operation, is a shareholder in many leading gaming developers, such as Riot Games, Epic, Supercell, Ubisoft, Paradox and Frontier. The company already owns close to 29% of the shares in Funcom and news of the intended takeover is greeted with enthusiasm from Funcom CEO Rui Casais.

“We have had a great relationship with Tencent as our largest shareholder so far and we are excited about this opportunity,” says Funcom CEO Rui Casais. “We will continue to develop great games that people all over the world will play, and we believe that the support of Tencent will take Funcom to the next level. Tencent will provide Funcom with operational leverage and insights from its vast knowledge as the leading company in the game space.”

Funcom is a publicly traded company on the Oslo Stock Exchange and Tencent will seek to acquire shares directly from all the other shareholders. Tencent is offering all shareholders NOK 17.00 per share, which is 27.3% higher than the closing price of Funcom shares on January 21st, 2020. Shareholders are free to either accept or reject the offer during the offer period, which is expected to start early February. Funcom’s management board and supervisory board have unanimously decided to recommend shareholders to accept the offer.

Following the intended acquisition, there are no planned changes to Funcom management, staffing, or structure, with the company set to remain an independent business. Funcom will also continue to support its long-running online games Conan Exiles, Secret World Legends, Age of Conan, and Anarchy Online. Casais points out that Tencent has a reputation for being a responsible long-term investor, renowned for operational capabilities in online games. Having had Tencent as a majority shareholder since October 2019, has only reaffirmed that notion.

Steven Ma, Senior Vice President of Tencent, commented: “We are impressed by Funcom’s strengths as a developer of open-world multiplayer, action and survival games. Funcom has a strong track-record in developing new titles with long life span. We are glad to deepen our relationship with Funcom and look forward to collaborating with Funcom to deliver more exciting and enjoyable game experiences to fans worldwide.”

Funcom was founded in 1993, but the recent years have been the most successful and profitable in the company’s 27-year history, following the success of online survival game Conan Exiles. In addition to various projects, including the continued support of Conan Exiles, the Norwegian game developers are currently developing an open world multiplayer survival game based on Frank Herbert’s Dune.

In connection with Tencent’s voluntary offer, the Funcom management have decided to publicly announce several strategic and operational matters. Management intends to increase the ambition level of the upcoming Dune game pending board approval, with resources being allocated from other initiatives and possible additional financing. For more information, please visit https://investors.funcom.com/.
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Beamer wrote on Jan 23, 2020, 09:38:
As annoying as the China censor-creep into Hollywood is, it's far less that the sinister Chinese government is forcing anything or funding anything, and far more that the Chinese box office for blockbusters is generally 50%-150% of the US box office.

If you're a cynical, publicly traded company producing cynical products designed to appeal to the widest audience possible, this means having to enter China. A $200MM movie will make its money back faster if it doesn't ignore 30% of the global market.

So they avoid anything the Chinese censors will dislike, and often add something the Chinese audience will. Not doing so means missing hundreds of millions of dollars. And it isn't as if we have many movies being made for art or creative purposes anymore. There isn't a whole lot left out there other than giant blockbusters carefully crafted to appeal to literally every single human being on the planet. It's why I find TV much more satisfying (also, it's why network television blows.)

What you just described it how they "force" and "fund" ideas. Their market has money to spend that outside companies want. Let's call that market square. The Chinese Government keeps their market square through censorship of media inside of China. They don't impose anything outside of China, but they do have a lot of money available inside of China.

The outside companies are from markets that are round and can accept many shapes of media. Luckily for the companies, that round market can ALSO fit square media. Square media sells well in China, and there is lots of money to earn in China. So they produce square media.

As a result, the Chinese censorship expands beyond the borders of China, not through force, but through coercive money, and our round markets start seeing a big uptick in square media, and square ideas, and a downswing in media and ideas that won't fit the square market.
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