Tencent acquires majority stake in Riot Games

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings 0700.HK has acquired a majority stake in Riot Games, the video game developer and publisher said on Friday.

Tencent controls about one-third of China’s online gaming market and runs the country’s largest online messaging platform.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bloomberg News, citing a person with knowledge of the negotiations, reported earlier that Tencent was near a deal to acquire Riot Games for more than $350 million.

Last year Tencent bought a stake in Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies.

Japanese mobile social gaming company Gree Inc 3632.T said last month that it would share a common development platform with Tencent, China's largest Internet company by market value.

Riot Games will maintain independent operations and its existing management team, it said in a statement. It plans to hire “aggressively” in 2011, it said.

The transaction is expected to close within 30 days, subject to regulatory approvals, Riot Games said.

Reporting by Clare Baldwin; editing by Carol Bishopric