Japanese game company DeNA snaps up Ngmoco for $400 million


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Japanese mobile Internet company DeNA Co. has bought iPhone game developer Ngmoco Inc. for a tidy $300 million in cash, plus an additional $100 million if the company meets certain financial targets before the end of 2011.

Ngmoco, founded two years ago by former Electronic Arts executive Neil Young, develops mobile games, mostly for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Its titles include Topple, MazeFinger and Rolando. The San Francisco company also maintains a platform for other developers to distribute their games.


DeNA, though little known in the U.S., is well established in Japan, where it operates mobile services such as commerce, search and games. The company posted annual revenue of about $570 million in 2009.

The Tokyo-based company opened its U.S. office in 2008 in San Mateo, Calif., and recently has been on an acquisition binge to broaden its business here. Ngmoco is the company’s fourth U.S. acquisition. It also purchased social-game companies Astro Ape in New Jersey, Gameview in Mountain View, Calif., and Icebreaker in Bellevue, Wash. In addition, DeNA has purchased a 20% share of mobile gaming company Aurora Feint in Burlingame, Calif.

As the U.S. market for social and mobile games grows, DeNA is betting it can nearly double its revenue to $1 billion this year. Other companies have had the same idea. Electronic Arts bought Playfish for $400 million in 2009. Walt Disney Co. snapped up Playdom in July in a deal worth $763 million after buying iPhone game-maker Tapulous for an undisclosed amount that same month.

-- Alex Pham