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Tencent in Talks With SoftBank to Buy Majority Stake in ‘Clash of Clans’ Maker Supercell

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Ralph Vandermeer

Last fall, Chinese online-game developer Giant Interactive Group teamed up with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA 0.60 % and held talks with SoftBank and Supercell over an acquisition, people familiar with the matter said.

Tencent, Supercell, SoftBank, Alibaba and Giant declined to comment.

The company s mobile games are free to download, and Supercell makes money by selling virtual goods that enhance the players game experiences.

Last year, it bought minority stakes in U.S. mobile-game publishers Glu Mobile Inc. and Pocket Gems Inc. Tencent has been assembling a war chest for potential acquisitions and is raising about $4 billion for a bank loan, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

SoftBank s portfolio of video-game companies is one area that is under scrutiny from company President Nikesh Arora, who in March was put in charge of its international investments and operations, a person familiar with the matter said.

Any sale of such assets would help shore up SoftBank s balance sheet, which is saddled with more than $80 billion in net interest-bearing debt, about a third of which is tied to its struggling U.S. mobile carrier unit Sprint Corp.

—--Alexander Martin in Tokyo and Matthias Verbergt in Stockholm contributed to this article.

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Ralph Vandermeer
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