Tencent to acquire Sumo Digital for $1.27 billion

Outrun on PC like it should be.
(Image credit: Sumo Group)

The voracious Tencent is set to acquire the Sumo Group, a UK-founded developer with 14 studios worldwide, for $1.27 billion (£928 million, thanks Guardian). Tencent already had a minority stake in Sumo before this but, presuming Sumo's shareholders accept 513p per share (they're currently selling for just under 500p thanks to a 40% spike following the announcement), will soon add it to the simply enormous list of developers it owns.

Tencent's acquisitions can be hard to keep track of. Last year it bought a whopping 31 gaming companies, to add to investments in companies like Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Riot and Epic. It's the world's largest gaming company (and China's second biggest tech firm) and gets bigger almost every week.

Sumo is perhaps best-known for its long-running relationship with Sega, which has resulted in some class work from the studio: Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast was an absolute beauty. Its most recent release was Hood: Outlaws & Legends, and it also created the Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing series, has developed some decent LittleBigPlanet spinoffs, and has done work-for-hire on a huge number of series, including the likes of Hitman, Forza Horizon, and Crackdown.

Crackdown 3 angry people.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Sumo was founded in Sheffield and was very much the spiritual successor to Gremlin Interactive and Infogrames. The three founders all came from that venerable development house and still work at Sumo: CEO Carl Cavers confirmed in a statement that he and the others, Paul Porter and Darren Mills, are "passionate about what we do and are fully committed to continuing in our roles."

Read on for more hot acquisition chat. Cavers writes of the proposed deal: "The opportunity to work with Tencent is one we just couldn’t miss. It would bring another dimension to Sumo, presenting opportunities for us to truly stamp our mark on this amazing industry, in ways which have previously been out of reach."

"Tencent has a strong track record for backing management teams and their existing strategies. Alongside the acceleration of own-IP work, Tencent has demonstrated its commitment to backing our client work and has stated its intention to ensure that we have the necessary investment to continue focusing on work with our key strategic partners on turn-key and co-development projects," ending "the future for Sumo looks more exciting than ever."

On the Tencent side, there's the usual stuff about accelerating growth, the spirit of innovation, and delivering compelling value for shareholders. So I spared you it. Now: Sumo? Time to crack on with another Outrun please.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."