Tencent secured more mergers and acquisitions in the games space than any other company last year.
That's according to a report by Niko Partners, which shows the Chinese games and technology giant invested in 31 deals related to the games industry.
The analysis specialist reports this is a record number for the company, three times more than it managed in 2019 and more than four times higher than the number of M&A deals it did in 2017.
Tencent's investments were a mix of acquisitions, mergers, minor and major stakes, and funding rounds. The majority -- 23 out of 31 -- involved other Chinese companies, but there were a number of notable Western deals as well.
By far, the biggest investment was the $1.5 billion acquisition of Leyou Technologies, the Chinese firm that owns Splash Damage and Warframe developer Digital Extremes.
Niko notes that this past year also marked a change in Tencent's M&A strategy.
"Tencent's approach to M&A can be traditionally characterised as somewhat conservative, investing primarily in firms that have a proven hit or established product or service," the firm wrote.
"This year, the company has been more proactive with its investments in the gaming space."
The report adds that Tencent has been investing in companies that are often smaller than past deals, and ones at a much earlier stage.
This was attributed to increasing competition in the games space from rivals such as Alibaba and TikTok owner Bytedance -- the latter of which recently launched a games publishing arm.
"Tencent is in no danger of losing its No.1 position in the games market, but it is beginning to feel some pressure as other companies have been able to disrupt its grip on the top ten grossing games chart."
Tencent's 2020 deals included (in chronological order):
- A minor stake in Japanese developer Platinum Games for an undisclosed amount
- $148 million acquisition of Norwegian developer and publisher Funcom
- Increased stake in China-based Bilibili to 18%
- A minor stake in German studio Yager for an undisclosed amount
- Participated in a $150 million Series G round of funding for USA-based Roblox
- A 20% stake in Japanese publisher Marvelous for $65 million
- A 31.25% stake in China-based FanPass for just over $70,000
- A minor stake in French mobile publisher Voodoo for an undisclosed amount
- Increased stake in Chinese firm Century Huatong to 5% for $30.9 million
- $810 million investment in the merger between Chinese games-centric streaming platforms Huya and DouYu
- $1.5 billion acquisition of China-based Leyou Technology
- Took a 10% stake in Chinese firm Yunchang Game, with the option of 15%
- 21.75% stake in Chinese cloud-based games firm 51ias
- A minor stake in Chinese studio Ziyue Gege for an undisclosed amount
- A majority stake in GTFO developer 10 Chambers for an undisclosed amount
- Participation in the $100 million Series B funding round for Chinese esports firm VSPN
- 20% stake in Chinese studio Narx Games
- 10.7% stake in Chinese developer First Fun
- 20% stake in China-based Nuanyu Technology
- $25 million investment for a minor stake in UK-based Lockwood Publishing
- A minor stake in China's Wizard Games for an undisclosed amount
- A 30% stake in China-based Note7G
- A 20% stake in Wangyuan Shengtang for an undisclosed amount
- 7.5% stake in China's Fruits Game for $6.9 million
- A 20% stake in Xinghe Interactive for an undisclosed amount
- A 39% stake in China-based TiGames for an undisclosed amount
- A 10% stake in Chinese developer APG Games for an undisclosed amount
- A 19.25% stake in China's Dream Game Studio for an undisclosed amount
- A 14.5% stake in China-based Shadow Moon Tech for an undisclosed amount
- A minor stake in Capstone Games, the developer behind sports series Chinese Super League, for an undisclosed amount
- Increased its stake from 3% to 6% in Chinese developer Giraffe Game