(Reuters) – Chinese tech giant Tencent’s Timi Studios, maker of the popular video games Honor of Kings and Call of Duty Mobile, generated $ 10 billion in revenue last year, two people with first-hand knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The $ 10 billion in cash will make Timi the world’s largest developer, said the source, who is suspected by many industry observers.
It also provides a solid foundation for its ambition to go beyond mobile gaming and compete head-to-head with global heavyweights developing expensive “AAA” titles on platforms such as desktop computers, Sony’s PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft’s Xbox.
In a recruitment notice last month, a Timi engineer wrote that the company aims to create a new AAA game that resembles the virtual community from the movie Ready Player One, and will “compete head-to-head against the mighty powers from Japan, Korea, Europe and the US”
Tencent is building studios overseas, including one for Timi and one for Lightspeed and Quantum, both in Los Angeles, with the aim of creating content with original intellectual property that has global appeal.
Tencent ultimately aims to raise half of its gaming revenue from abroad, from 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, the most recent figure available.
Many major studios turn to Tencent for support for converting their “hardcore” desktop or console games to mobile. Such games feature long, storytelling sessions or in-depth battles, with some including multiplayer online role-playing games or online battle arenas.
Last week, Tencent reported 156.1 billion yuan ($ 23.79 billion) in overall online gaming revenue for 2020 but did not break down revenue for individual studios, which run independently and compete with each other.
Timi’s results account for 40% of gaming revenue, the two men said.
Of Tencent’s remaining gaming revenue last year, studios Lightspeed and Quantum, developer of PUBG Mobile, another gross-earning game, accounted for 29%, people said, while 26% was the result of publishing for other developers. Aurora Studios Group, boosted by the Moonlight Blade Mobile title, contributed 3%, said the source.
The source declined to be identified because the information was not public.
Tencent did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.
Tencent, which has benefited from a surge in gamer payments, said last week online gaming revenue rose 29% to 39.1 billion yuan in the fourth quarter.
($ 1 = 6.5619 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Pei Li and Tony Munroe. Edited by Gerry Doyle
PARIS / BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will next week submit a multi-billion dollar proposal to Lebanese authorities to rebuild the Port of Beirut as part of efforts to persuade the country’s politicians to form a government capable of averting a financial collapse, two sources. the word.
A chemical explosion at the port last August killed 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed entire neighborhoods in the Lebanese capital, plunging the country deeper into the worst political and economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
According to two diplomatic sources familiar with the plan, Germany and France are competing to lead the reconstruction effort. Berlin will on April 7 outline a proposal that the European Investment Bank has agreed to help fund that will clean up the area and rebuild facilities, they said.
One source estimates EIB funding to be in the range of 2 billion to 3 billion euros.
A senior Lebanese official confirmed that Germany will present a comprehensive port reconstruction proposal.
Both the German foreign ministry and consulting firm Roland Berger, which diplomatic sources said drew up the plan, immediately responded to requests for comment. EIB could not be reached for comment.
The two diplomatic sources said that Lebanon’s political elite first needs to agree on a new government arrangement to improve public finances and root out corruption, a condition that donors, including the International Monetary Fund, are also demanding before they open up billions. dollars in aid.
“This plan will not come selflessly,” said one source. “Germany and France want to see governments in a place that are committed to implementing reforms. There is no other way and this is good for Lebanon. “
Eight months after the port disaster, many Lebanese who have lost their families, homes and businesses are still awaiting the results of investigations into the cause of the explosion. Lebanon is on the brink of collapse, with buyers fighting over goods, protesters blocking roads and businesses closing.
Foreign donors say the new government must have a strong mandate to carry out economic reforms, including central bank audits and overhauling the wasteful power sector.
However, the Prime Minister appointed by Saad al-Hariri and President Michel Aoun could not agree on the composition of the ministers. The outgoing cabinet, which stopped after the explosion, remained in the capacity of the caretaker.
The IMF said there had been no program discussions with Lebanese officials, only technical assistance with the Ministry of Finance and several state-owned companies.
As well as the port itself, German proposals would rebuild more than 100 hectares in the surrounding area in a project that two diplomatic sources said would align with post-war reconstruction in central Beirut.
As for the rebuilding, the plan will involve the formation of a public company similar to Solidere, which was founded by former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in the 1990s and remains on the Lebanese stock exchange.
Sources put the project cost at between $ 5 billion and $ 15 billion, and said it could create as many as 50,000 jobs.
The Lebanese official said French and French ports and container delivery group CMA CGM were also interested in the reconstruction project.
One diplomatic source noted that France had sent several missions, including one in March which included the CMA CGM, which showed interest in playing a role in reconstruction. The mission focuses on special cleanup operations rather than broader rebuilding, the source said.
The French foreign ministry declined to comment immediately. CMA CGM declined to comment.
Lebanese officials assign responsibility for running the project to Europeans who agree on who will take the lead.
“This is a European decision in the end, because they have to decide for themselves. Then when it comes to that matter, the Lebanese government can continue, “the official said.
Diplomatic sources said Germany wanted to cooperate with France on this issue, but Paris was pursuing its own initiative for now.
“The irony of all this is that on the one hand the Europeans are talking about putting pressure on the political class while on the other hand fighting each other over this potential contract while the vultures are still circling,” said one.
Reporting by John Irish in Paris, Joseph Nasr in Berlin, Ellen Francis in Beirut; Supplementary Reports by Maha El Dahan in Beirut and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall
BERLIN (Reuters) – It was shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday, March 22 when Angela Merkel asked for a respite after hours of dead-end discussions with her deputy and 16 German prime ministers on how to stop the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After winning international acclaim for its initial response to last year’s pandemic, Germany is struggling. The number of patients in intensive care was approaching the peak of the first wave of the previous year, and vaccine rollout was progressing very slowly.
Merkel, in the final months of her 16-year rule, told the prime minister she wanted to extend the national lockdown and tighten movement restrictions, effectively confining Germans in their homes during the upcoming Easter holidays.
The leaders of the country are not all games. Some rejected plans for its chief of staff, Helge Braun, to impose a curfew. Others, from the north, wanted vacations on the condition that they were allowed.
“That’s not the right answer at this time,” Merkel sighed in front of a giant screen showing 14 regional leaders attending virtually the meeting.
A year after the pandemic, Germany’s patchy federal system is beginning to break down. The union between Berlin and the regions that marked the first year of the crisis unraveled as many of the state’s prime ministers, facing pressure from business and voters, urged life to return to normal.
The approach to federal elections in September has strained those political threads even further.
State leaders including North Rhine-Westphalia prime minister Armin Laschet, the chairman of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and his future successor, are more eager to open up as they await elections in September, when Merkel resigns.
Merkel, by contrast, who doesn’t have to face voter rulings anymore, wants to multiply with her push for tougher action. He even publicly criticized Laschet for the lax restriction policies in his state.
Fractured federal-state relations are not entirely to blame for Germany’s groping pandemic response: Berlin has also been accused of being cautious and investing too much faith in the European Union for its vaccine rollout. But they have become an obstacle to taking swift and coordinated action as patience is running low on all sides, resulting in policy changes and waning support for Merkel’s conservative camp.
The increasingly strained relationship between Merkel and the country’s leaders “has only exacerbated the pandemic of mismanagement and is again hurting the CDU and CSU,” said Naz Masraff of political risk consultancy Eurasia.
Irritated by the deadlock at last week’s talks, Merkel turned to her chief of staff Braun, a 48-year-old doctor with intensive care experience, and asked her other advice.
The break is planned for 15 minutes but lasts six hours. The Conservative and Social Democrat Prime Ministers split into separate chatter. Hanging on the left, Bodo Ramelow, Prime Minister of Linke’s far left in Thuringia, turns to Reiner Haseloff of neighboring Saxony Anhalt, and they spend their time exploring the different screen backgrounds of the video conferencing.
Finally, Braun came back with plans to turn off the circuit breakers for five days during Easter. Since shops in Germany are already closed on Easter Friday, Sunday and Monday, they only need to be closed for two extra days – Thursday and Saturday. Merkel implemented the plan by state leaders and Deputy Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the leftist candidate for Chancellor of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
They agreed that Merkel closed the meeting at 2.30am, and presented the plan to journalists with the prime ministers of Bavaria and Berlin.
Then the trouble started. Merkel’s own broader camp balked at it.
At 10:45 am Alexander Dobrindt, deputy leader of his conservative bloc in parliament, called for “remedial”. Then Interior Minister Horst Seehofer complained that churches would be reduced to online services at Easter.
Resistance grew and on Wednesday morning Merkel made a swift and extraordinary decision: cancel the plan. Calling the state prime minister again online, he informed them of the turnaround and at 12:30 pm spoke to the nation.
“This fault is mine alone,” he said of the chancellor. “I ask forgiveness from all citizens of the country.”
NAME AND SHAME
The unusual four-minute mea culpa proved to be a clever tactic. Merkel won praise from both her own camp and the opposition for her honesty, and attention quickly focused on the country’s leaders – who approved of the plan – and on the dysfunction of their meetings with the chancellor.
“What some commentators see as a sign of weakness is actually a way to go from the point of defense to attack,” said a person close to Merkel, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The point of attack was aimed at the state prime minister. Even Laschet did not escape.
In her talk show Sunday evening, Merkel accused her and several other state leaders of ignoring a March 3 agreement on how to manage the national lockdown.
As federal territories hold power over health and safety issues, Merkel, still Germany’s most popular politician, uses such name-and-shame tactics to persuade the country’s leaders to take tougher action.
His popularity is helping: a survey by Civey’s poll for the Augsburger Allgemeine daily showed two-thirds of the 5,002 people questioned this week supported Merkel’s approach and believed she should intervene more strongly in the state’s pandemic response.
He gained traction.
On Tuesday, Brandenburg tightened its guidelines and Laschet said his country had imposed a so-called “emergency brake” by asking people to test negative before visiting several shops.
While the politicians are fighting, time is running short.
German vaccine supplies will increase from April, although changing guidance on AstraZeneca injections has led many Germans to stop doing it. The country’s leading virologist has warned that tougher lockdowns will be needed. Nothing to see.
That determination hurts the CDU / CSU alliance, which has dropped 10 points in opinion polls since early February.
“We are in a very sad state at the moment, and we have to get out of it,” complained a conservative lawmaker. “I’ve never had a mood like this in our ranks before.”
Written by Paul Carrel; Edited by Alexandra Hudson
ROME / MILAN (Reuters) – Italy is considering a cheaper route to win control of broadband operator Open Fiber, three sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday, as it looks set to play a guiding role to improve connectivity across the country.
Open Fiber is jointly owned by Italy’s largest utility, Enel, and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).
Enel has been in talks to sell up to 50% of the fiber infrastructure group to fund Macquarie Australia for 2.65 billion euros ($ 3.11 billion) since last year and a deal is expected to be reached in June.
The original scheme envisioned CDP buying 10% of Open Fiber from Enel and negotiating governance rights with Macquarie to secure control.
But disagreement over the value of Open Fiber has prompted the two sides to discuss alternative routes, the sources said.
Under the new scheme under discussion, Enel will sell all or part of its 50% stake to Macquarie, after which CDP will increase its stake to 51% through a capital increase, the sources said.
CDP and Macquarie declined to comment. Enel could not be reached for comment.
In this way CDP could save hundreds of millions of euros in winning control of the joint venture.
One of the sources said the talks were at an advanced stage, adding that Enel could maintain a small stake in Open Fiber.
The Italian government has previously championed CDP’s bid to win control of Open Fiber as part of a broader plan to combine it with the former landline assets of the Italian Telecom (TIM) telephony monopoly.
But ministers from Mario Draghi’s new government have cast doubt on the project, saying Rome is reviewing its options.
TIM, of which CDP is the second-largest shareholder behind French media company Vivendi, has repeatedly said it will not agree to own less than 50% of any single network company – something that could spark regulatory issues.
A fourth source said the industry ministry is studying other options including a co-investment scheme to allow operators to build their networks in some areas and reach commercial agreements in others.
The Draghi government has put digital infrastructure at the heart of its agenda and is relying on a grant from the European Recovery Fund to accelerate fiber-optic rollout.
Draghi has not said whether his administration intends to implement an integrated network project but the Ministry of Finance has meanwhile pressed for plans to ensure CDP has control over Open Fiber, one of the sources said.
Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte in Rome, and Elvira Pollina and Stephen Jewkes in Milan; Edited by Matthew Lewis
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian energy company Raizen, a joint venture between Cosan SA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, has selected four investment banks to manage its initial public offering, expected to be one of the largest this year, raising up to 13 billion. reais ($ 2.25 billion), four people with knowledge of the matter said Monday.
Raizen has selected Banco BTG Pactual SA, Bank of America, Citi and Credit Suisse AG to be the lead banks in the transaction, and is expected to add more syndicates this week, sources added, requesting anonymity to reveal private talks.
Raizen, Citi and Credit Suisse declined to comment on the matter. BTG and BofA did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
Raizen, the world’s largest sugar maker, also controls a large fuel distribution network and is Brazil’s fourth largest company by revenue, behind state-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, iron ore miner Vale SA, and packer. JBS SA meat.
Raizen is expected to be listed on Brazil’s B3 stock exchange, said one of the sources, and aims to complete the transaction in June or July.
Cosan, an energy group, disclosed earlier this month that its joint venture with Shell was being put up for listing before the flotation plans of two other companies it controls to raise capital and financial growth.
The joint venture recently acquired Biosev SA, another sugar and ethanol company, from Louis Dreyfus in a cash and stock deal.
As part of the deal, Biosev shareholders will receive 3.5% of Raizen preferred stock, plus 1.49% redeemable share.
One source said Raizen may be worth up to 100 billion reais ($ 17.3 billion).
Raizen is one of the competitors of the Petrobras refinery for sale. They made a bid for the REPAR refinery, in the southern state of Parana, but the process was canceled and Petrobras was expected to relaunch it.
Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl, in Sao Paulo; Edited by Marguerita Choy