Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is investing US$120 million in gaming startup Kabam Inc. in a partnership to publish and distribute free-to-play mobile games, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The deal, which values the San Francisco-based startup at more than US$$1 billion, comes after the Chinese e-commerce giant reportedly held talks with Snapchat Inc. to provide additional financing to the mobile messaging company, which could raise its valuation to US$10 billion, the report said.
Since launching its investment group in Silicon Valley in October, Alibaba has invested in at least 10 startups, including mobile deep-linking company Quixey Inc., mobile messaging platform TangoMe Inc., transportation application Lyft Inc., and smartphone remote-control company Peel Technologies Inc., as it prepares for its much-awaited initial public offering in New York later this year, according to the newspaper.
With users in more than 150 countries playing its three dozen games, Kabam could help Alibaba reach more people and expand in a sector where its competitors are increasing their presence.
Chinese technology behemoth Tencent has invested US$231 million in Riot Games Inc., US$330 million in Epic Games Inc. and an undisclosed amount in Activision Blizzard Inc. to bring more games to its users, the report said.
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