On December 15th, Riot Games, in an announcement about employee compensation structures, revealed that Tencent, a Chinese holding company with media, entertainment, internet, and mobile subsidiaries, has recently purchased their remaining equity. Riot Games is the developer of League of Legends and runs most of the eSports competitions internationally for the game, including World Championships. Tencent Games currently distributes League of Legends in China.
"...our majority investor, Tencent, recently purchased the remaining equity of Riot Games."
—Riot Games, 2015
The statement only explained that the Riot employee equity program will shift more towards a cash-based incentive program as a result, and it is unclear as to whether this will impact the League of Legends eSports scene at all. As of February 18th, 2011, Tencent was already the majority shareholder of Riot, owning 92.78% of equity interest. It's hard to see what controlling the remaining 7.22% will change.
Recently, theScore eSports reported that Riot Games were in talks to assume control of tournament licensing in China from Tencent. Allegedly, one motivating factor was Tencent's decision to authorize a woman's League of Legends league without Riot's consent.
Banana Plan, a media company owned by Invictus Gaming owner, Wang Sicong, recently obtained the rights to produce the main League of Legends league in China, the LPL. Allegedly, Riot Games had interest in operating the league. It is unclear whether Tencent's recent majority acquisition of Riot Games equity could have impacted deliberations.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.