Chinese internet giant Tencent is in talks with Supercell’s majority shareholder, SoftBank, about a potential takeover deal, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to those with insider knowledge, talks between both parties are well underway, with Tencent hoping to purchase Softbank’s 73.2 percent stake in the Clash of Clans developer.
Japanese mobile outfit SoftBank initially purchased a controlling 51 percent stake in the Finnish studio for $1.5 billion in October 2014.
Less than a year later, the company upped its stake again by buying out Supercell investor VC Accel for an undisclosed fee.
All three companies involved in the deal have declined to comment, however, if the reports are true, one of the biggest issues with any sale would be Supercell's ability to reject offers, coupled with its desire to remain autonomous.
Under SoftBank's ownership, the Hay Day developer has largely operated as an independent studio, and following its sale in 2014 company CEO Ilkka Paananen explained the studio was "still in full control of our future and will continue to operate independently."
The Wall Street Journal suggests Supercell higher-ups are unwilling to gamble that freedom, although Tencent president Martin Lau and chief strategy officer James Mitchell have reportedly flown out to Helsinki to try and convince them otherwise.
Assuming Supercell green light the Tencent deal, it's likely the Chinese firm will have to meet recent valuations of around $5.5 billion to pry the Clash Royale developer away from SoftBank.
Supercell would then be added to Tencent's impressive list of subsidiaries, which includes League of Legends creator, Riot Games, and mobile messaging service, WeChat.