Japanese Games Giant GREE Buys Minority Stake In Dutch Chat Startup eBuddy

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GREE, the Japanese mobile gaming giant, is continuing its global acquisition and investment spree. The company has acquired a minority stake in eBuddy, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based startup that focuses on enabling multi-client chat on the web and mobile.

The deal was first reported today by the Dutch web news site Emerce, which picked up on new data from the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce that showed eBuddy’s board has changed since August to include Taisei Yoshida en Ryotaro Shima, two GREE executives.

When reached via email by TechCrunch, eBuddy co-founder Jan-Joost Rueb said that his company has indeed sold a stake to GREE, and that the Japanese company now holds two out of five board seats. Last year, eBuddy was reportedly shopping around a twenty percent at a total valuation of $100 million, which seems to line up with this deal. Rueb said he was not entitled to “confirm or deny” those rumors, writing: “All I can confirm it is a strategic minority investment.”

At the moment, eBuddy, which was founded in 2003 as e-Messenger, has 85 full-time employees and boasts 300 million IM users in its database. GREE, meanwhile, has global revenues of $2 billion annually.