Who owns League of Legends and Riot Games? We break it down
Jan 19, 2022
With recent discussion of Activision-Blizzard being acquired by Microsoft, some fans are left wondering who exactly owns popular MOBA League of Legends.
Riot Games, the League of Legends developer and publisher, is 100% owned by Tencent, a Chinese technology and entertainment conglomerate of colossal size. However, recent developments have made it possible for Tencent to begin selling back its ownership shares to Riot Games employees, opening the possibility for a slight increase in ownership distribution for the popular development studio and game.
How long has Tencent owned League of Legends?
In February 2011, Tencent made its first investment into Riot Games, paying $400 million dollars for a 93% share in the company. Ever since then, Riot Games has been a subsidiary of Tencent. Tencent’s presence has been felt in many ways, from certain region-specific features like the Chinese super server to the massive growth of League of Legends in China.
Several years later in 2015, Tencent acquired the rest of Riot Games for an undisclosed sum of money. In the present day, Riot’s valuations range at well above $20 billion, so Tencent must be very pleased with its initial investment. In a recent statement made by Riot Games on the company’s plans for the next several years, one of the largest changes was the possibility of Tencent selling shares of the company back to Riot Games so that the development studio could be owned in part by the employees of the company.
This is the first sign of Tencent even considering the loosening of its grip on a studio that produces some of the world’s largest and most popular gaming properties. Just how much gets converted back to Riot employees has yet to be seen, and it’s highly unlikely that Tencent would return anywhere near enough stake to lose its majority shareholder position.
Riot Games’ ownership being solely focused in a large Chinse company like Tencent has raised some questions from gamers around the world regarding the potential relationship between Tencent and the Chinese goverment. But the answer of who owns League of Legends isn’t likely to change any time soon, and fans can expect more of the same from Riot Games and Tencent, no matter how they feel about it.
Riot Games and Tecent’s partnership has yielded enormous financial success on a global scale and there are few if any reasons for the massive Chinese corporation to change that direction now.