ByteDance to Dissolve Gaming Unit After Failing to Find a Buyer

ByteDance has decided to dissolve its gaming business after a failed attempt to spin off and sell the unit, in another significant strategic retreat from gaming.

There was a lack of buyers for the unit, which has thousands of employees. The decision follows a previous move to sell ByteDance’s gaming studio, Shanghai Moonton Technology, to streamline operations and focus on its core businesses.

Tencent and the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund have reportedly showed interest in buying Moonton Technology but did not reach a deal, according to media reports. The negotiations have led to a continuous drop in Mutong’s valuation.

A person close to Tencent said that Tencent made an "insultingly low" offer of less than US$1 billion, while ByteDance’s bottom line at the time was US$2 billion. In 2021, ByteDance acquired Mutong Technology for US$4 billion.

Mutong developed the popular mobile game "Endless Duel," the most popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) product in the Southeast Asian market.

ByteDance’s in-house gaming business, however, failed to gain enough interests from potential buyers. But insiders say that it could continue to seek buyers and there is still a possibility to find a buyer. ByteDance, however, seems eager to close the unit early rather than later.

For games that have been launched and are performing well, efforts will be made to separate them while ensuring their operation. For projects that have not yet been launched, except for a few innovative projects and related technology projects, will all be shut down.

The gaming unit confirmed that there will be reorganization with the company focusing more on exploring innovative games and related technologies.

ByteDance CEO Liang Rubo said the company would seek to be more "focused" and "pragmatic," strengthening investment in the core businesses of information platforms and e-commerce, while stay "imaginative yet level-headed for emerging businesses like gaming, education, and virtual reality." These latest moves seem to be an reflection of that strategic reorientation.


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