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Japanese Company GREE Buys Mobile Social Gaming Platform OpenFeint For $104 Million In Cash

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Mobile gaming startup OpenFeint, has been acquired by Japanese mobile gaming company GREE for $104 million in cash plus additional capital for growth of the OpenFeint platform. OpenFeint and its team will remain with long-term incentives, including CEO and founder Jason Citron, says the company.

OpenFeint provides a comprehensive mobile social gaming platform for the iPhone and Android platforms. OpenFeint’s plug and play mobile social platform and application for smartphones includes a set of online game services such as leaderboards, virtual currencies and achievements running in a cloud-based Web environment.

The platform first launched on the iPhone and iPad and more recently adding Android game developers to its rapidly growing community. In fact, the company has been growing like gangbusters on the Android platform, adding 215 Android games in the past six months.

OpenFeint raised $12 million in funding from Intel Capital, Chinese gaming company The9, and Gree rival DeNa.

GREE, which has a market cap of $3 billion, as an acquirer makes sense as the company is Japan’s largest mobile gaming social network. The company’s games have over 25 million users. In fact, GREE just partnered with DCM, Tencent and KDDI to launch the A-Fund, to support early-stage Android entrepreneurs. GREE also recently announced a partnership with mobile community MIG33 and Tencent. And GREE has launched an American entity, GREE International, as an effort to enter the American gaming market. In fact, GREE International was the acquirer of OpenFeint in this transaction.

Combined, the GREE and OpenFeint gaming ecosystem will reach 100 million users worldwide and Gree will uses its own resources to accelerate OpenFeint’s growth. The joint company will soon opening offices in Beijing, Singapore and London and plans to double OpenFeint in size in 2011.

This isn’t the first gaming company to be acquired by a Japanese gaming giant. DeNa bought social gaming startup Ngmoco for $400 million last year.