Private Equity Firm Blackstone Buys Vungle; Tencent Launches Streaming App for WeGame

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TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the trending stories in gaming. In today’s news: Private equity firm Blackstone buys Vungle; Tencent launches streaming app for WeGame; and Baidu renews partnership with Snap.

Private equity firm Blackstone buys Vungle

Private equity firm Blackstone has announced it is purchasing performance marketing platform Vungle, which serves in-app video ads with publishers including Rovio and Zynga. While the exact terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, sources have informed Techcrunch that the all-cash payment is approximately USD$750m (£602.3m). Vungle, which was founded in 2011, currently serves over 4 billion video views each month.

The deal comes in a time where private equity investment in advertising is on the increase, with in-app identified as a key area of growth. Vungle’s presence across mobile gaming, as well as its work with brands on the scale of P&G and Warner Brothers, also helps to explain the initial interest from Blackstone. The deal is expected to be concluded later this year.

Tencent launches streaming app for WeGame

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Tencent has launched a streaming app for their PC storefront WeGame, allowing players to stream League of Legends onto their phones, via a WiFi connection. The system differs from similar offerings, such as Valve’s Steam Link, in that it does not require additional hardware to play. Further titles are reportedly due to be added to the app shortly, however it is unclear at this stage if and when the capability will be rolled out globally, as it is currently only available in China.

Even before this announcement, mobile streaming services have been undergoing a period of proliferation, with upcoming products including Google Stadia, Bethesda Softworks’ Orion and Microsoft’s Project xCloud.

Baidu renews partnership with Snap

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China-based technology company Baidu has renewed its sales partnership with Snap, allowing the firm to continue acting as the Snapchat maker’s representative in its home market, along with Japan and South Korea. Under the terms of the deal, Baidu is authorised to act as a reseller of Snap’s ad inventory for an undisclosed revenue share tariff.

In a statement on the press release accompanying the deal, Sheng Hu, head of US strategy and partnership at Baidu’s global business unit, said, “Our partnership with Snap Inc. provides Chinese companies new avenues to expand their businesses through Snapchat advertising. We look forward to connecting with marketing executives in China and beyond on behalf of Snap to discuss the benefits of these advertising solutions.”