ByteDance is reportedly seeking options to sell its video games and other assets related to its gaming business. Chinese tech giant Tencent has been named among potential buyers.

ByteDance and Tencent in talks about games in TikTok maker's portfolio

Crystal of Atlan

The news was first reported by Chinese outlet LatePost, saying that ByteDance is currently in talks with Tencent regarding the future of its publishing unit Nuverse. The potential sale could be made at a “substantial discount.”

A ByteDance representative later told the South China Morning Post that the companies haven’t yet reached an agreement. It is also unclear what other companies the TikTok maker is negotiating with and what the terms of the potential deal are.

The list of Nuverse games that could be divested includes steampunk MMORPG Crystal of Atlan and shooter Earth: Revival. As Reuters reported last year, ByteDance was also looking to sell Moonton Technology (Mobile Legends: Bang Bang), which it acquired at a $4 billion valuation in 2021.

ByteDance announced a restructuring of its gaming business in November 2023, saying that “we regularly review our businesses and make adjustments to centre on long-term strategic growth areas.” At the time, the company also made job cuts at Nuverse, but it is unclear how many of its 2,000+ employees were let go.

The TikTok maker appears to be dissatisfied with the performance of its video game division after it spent around 30 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) on various M&A deals in the area between 2019 and 2022. As Niko Partners’ Lisa Hanson told SCMP, “while the company made $54 billion in the first half of 2023, less than 1 per cent of that came from their video games business.”

Nuverse is best known globally as the publisher of Marvel Snap, a card game developed by former Hearthstone director Ben Brode and his new studio Second Dinner. The title proved to be a huge hit, generating over $116 million in its first year and becoming the highest-grossing CCG on mobile in 2023.

Despite the shaky future of Nuverse, Marvel Snap will continue to be independently developed and supported by Second Dinner. Earlier this week, the studio raised $100 million from Griffin Gaming Partners, saying that the game’s lifetime revenue exceeded $200 million.

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