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SoftBank and GungHo swallow half of Finnish mobile gaming firm

Clash of Clans creator partners with Japanese firms

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Japan's SoftBank and GungHo Online Entertainment have teamed up to take a controlling stake in Finnish mobile gaming firm Supercell for $1.5bn.

The gaming company has just two titles at the moment – Clash of Clans and Hay Day – but like its fellow Finnish firm Rovio, its games have enjoyed huge popularity. Both are at the top of the iPad and iPhone charts and have earned the firm $106m in operating profit in the first quarter, according to the Financial Times.

Supercell's chief exec Ilkka Paananen broke the news of the partnership on the company's blog, saying that the investment from Japan would help the firm go international.

“The new partnership will accelerate Supercell towards our goal of being the first truly global games company, and gives us time to get there,” he said.

The investment is SoftBank's second into gaming this year. The bank upped its stake in GungHo (founded by Taizo Son, the younger brother of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son) in March. Paananen said on the Supercell blog that the firm was, like SoftBank, on a "journey to shape the future of entertainment".

"In our quest to become the number one mobile internet company, we scour the globe in search of interesting opportunities and right now some of the most exciting companies and innovations are coming out of Finland," Paananen quoted Masayoshi Son as saying.

Like many mobile games, Clash of Clans and Hay Day are run on the freemium model, meaning they're free to download but players are urged to spend money on in-app purchases in order to win the game. ®

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