August 19, 2014 6:00 AM
FunPlus Group, the creator of mobile-social games like Family Farm, has agreed to sell its game subsidiary to publicly traded Zhongji Holding for $960 million.
Above: Dan Fiden
Image Credit: FunPlus
The size of the deal suggests how large FunPlus’s mobile-social game business has grown in the past few years. And it also points to a very interesting and ambitious strategy for the Beijing-based game company, which will take the money and invest it in experimental game opportunities.
It’s a little complicated, so bear with us as we explain it. Zhongji Holding, a publicly traded company in Shanghai, approached FunPlus to purchase its current social-mobile simulation games. FunPlus Group’s current business features games like Barn Voyage and Family Farm, and they are included in its gaming subsidiary dubbed DianDian Interactive. Zhongji is paying up to $960 million for DianDian for the games and about 120 FunPlus employees.
The rest of FunPlus will receive that giant war chest of money and invest it in its new ideas to disrupt the game business, said Dan Fiden, the chief strategy officer of FunPlus, in an interview with GamesBeat. Interestingly, FunPlus recently raised $74 million in venture capital. The company’s ambition to become a truly global game company — made possible by the universal acceptance of mobile-gaming platforms — fits with our theme of Total World Domination at our GamesBeat 2014 on Sept. 15-16 in San Francisco. And it’s a reason why Andy Zhong, the chief executive of FunPlus, will be one of our speakers.
“We can invest in disruptive and innovative businesses,” Fiden said. “Our ambitions are outsized, and the opportunity is outsized.”
Fiden added, “It’s a positive sign for the game industry globally. It’s a validation of the direction that we have gone. We didn’t want to have the binary choice of having a public company that focused only on the quarterly results and try to pursue a new growth business at the same time.”