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.
eBuddy is a web-based messenger service that allows you to chat with your MSN, Yahoo and AIM contacts on one page. They also have a mobile browser for accessing your contacts on your mobile. eBuddy doesn’t require any downloads, so you can easily get to your contacts on other computers.
GREE provides Japan’s leading mobile social network, and is at the forefront of mobile technology. GREE was ranked as Japan’s fastest-growing tech company by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. in 2009 and 2010. GREE, following its acquisition of OpenFeint in April 2011, is expanding globally and will soon offer a single, worldwide mobile social gaming platform. Combined, GREE reaches over 190 million players and offers over 7,500 game applications for smartphones. GREE aims to build the leading mobile social gaming...