Sony to Pour USD400 Million Into Tencent-Backed Bilibili for Animation, Games

QIU ZHILI

(Yicai Global) April 10 — Bilibili shares jumped to an all-time high after the Chinese Tencent-backed video platform said that it will receive USD400 million in investment from Japan’s Sony to deepen partnership in animation and games.

Bilibili’s stock price [NASDAQ: BILI] surged to USD29.74 intraday yesterday and closed 2.4 percent up at USD26.83 in New York.

Sony’s US unit will buy 17.3 million Class Z shares, priced at around USD23.10 apiece, to indirectly hold a nearly 5 percent stake in the target company, the Shanghai-based video firm said in a statement yesterday. The deal is expected to close soon, it added.

The focus is on Bilibili’s signature fields. The two parties will create better content and user experiences in animation and games to further meet users’ growing demand for culture and entertainment, Chief Executive Chen Rui wrote in the statement.

The pair has partnered before. Since 2014, Bilibili and Tokyo-based Sony’s unit Aniplex have joined hands in animation licensing. In 2016, Bilibili became the exclusive China agent for Aniplex’s popular mobile game Fate/Grand Order. More recently, the parents have teamed on music videos.

Streaming Fate/Grand Order, a free-to-play mobile game, has become an important revenue source for Bilibili, an analyst told Yicai Global. The latest cooperation deal should solidify that partnership, the person added.

Before this, Bilibili has attracted investment from Chinese tech titans including Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings. Hangzhou-based Alibaba boosted its shareholding to nearly 11 percent in the target firm in February 2019. Shenzhen’s Tencent paid USD320 million to increase its stake to over 12 percent in October 2018, becoming Bilibili’s second-largest shareholder.

Editor: Emmi Laine

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