Bohemia Interactive has denied reporting of its acquisition by the Chinese conglomerate Tencent, with its CEO saying that the firm remains independent, although they have explored “possible strategic co-operation” bids with other companies.
Marek Španěl, the CEO and one of the co-founders of Bohemia Interactive, has denied the acquisition talks, posting on the Bohemia Interactive forums that the company had held “possible strategic co-operation talks” but they remain an independent studio for now:
Dear all, I just wanted to let you know that the information circulated by various major media sources about Bohemia Interactive acquired by Tencent is not true. We were talking to numerous potential partners in the past about possible strategic cooperation and we may do so in the future as well but as of now, we remain an independent studio.
P.S.: I am just an old man working on games for more than 30 years of my life. But the valuation circulated in the media sounds tempting. Maybe I should think about my retirement plans after all now? Any better offers ????? Anyway, I guess in the meantime I should get back to work to help our Team Bohemia to continue work on our existing and future games. And last but not least, I want to thank this amazing community for the support over the years. Without you, Arma, DayZ and Bohemia Interactive could never achieve this major success in the world of games.
The acquisition was originally reported by The Information on Wednesday morning, with Tencent and Bohemia Interactive both declining to comment at the time. Kotaku Australia has reached out to Bohemia Interactive for a statement, but did not receive comment before, or after, publication.
The move would have added to Tencent’s roster of Western studios, which has already been bolstered multiple times this year. In 2020 alone, Tencent fully acquired Funcom, makers of The Secret World and Conan Exiles, in January for $201 million. Shortly after, Tencent spent an undisclosed sum acquiring a minority stake in German studio Yager, the makers of Spec Ops: The Line and the upcoming The Cycle.
“We’re confident that this will greatly enhance the scope of our business, not just by getting access to Tencent’s network and resources but by tapping the vast industry know-how Tencent possesses,” Timo Ulmann, chief executive of Yager, said at the time.
Tencent also owns a majority stake in the New Zealand studio Grinding Gear Games, the makers of Path of Exile. When the deal was announced, the company’s managing director tried to assuage concerns about Tencent’s ownership by saying other CEOs “of other companies that Tencent has invested in” said Tencent has “never tried to interfere with game design or operations outside of China”.
“We have been approached by many potential acquirers over the last five years, but always felt that they didn’t understand Path of Exile, or that they had other agendas (like signing users up to their services). Tencent’s agenda is clear: to give us the resources to make Path of Exile as good as it can be,” Chris Wilson, the managing director of the New Zealand studio, said.
Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad told The Information that Tencent’s investments fill a space in “PC sandbox games” that isn’t covered by their existing studios. I
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Tencent’s largest acquisition, however, was the $12.4 billion (~$US8.6 billion) consortium deal to acquire the makers of Clash of Clans, Supercell. Last year, Tencent increased their individual share of Supercell to 51.2 percent from 50 percent, giving them effective control over the company.
Update 4/06: The original version of this story reported on Tencent’s possible acquisition of Bohemia. Following Bohemia’s public denial of the bid, the story has been updated and rewritten to reflect the situation.