According to Reuters, ByteDance is in talks with several potential buyers, including a Saudi-based firm, but no final decision has been made yet.
The move comes as the company faces mounting challenges in its gaming business, both in China and abroad.
In China, ByteDance has struggled to obtain licenses to publish its games, as the government tightens its control over the gaming industry. They also faced fierce competition from Tencent and NetEase, the dominant players in the Chinese gaming market.
Meanwhile, in the US, ByteDance has been under pressure from the governemnt, which has accused TikTok of posing a national security threat and has threatened to ban the app.
Moonton is the developer of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, a popular mobile game in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines. The game has more than 500 million downloads and 100 million monthly active users worldwide, according to its website.
Mobile Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, similar to Tencent’s Honor of Kings and Riot Games’ League of Legends. The game features various heroes, modes, and events, and allows players to compete with each other in real-time.
ByteDance acquired Moonton in 2021 through a deal that valued the gaming studio at about $4 billion, surpassing the $3.75 billion that Tencent paid for Supercell in 2016. Supercell is the maker of hit games such as Clash of Clans and Clash Royale.
Since the acquisition, ByteDance has left Moonton to operate in near-autonomy, allowing it to retain its brand, team, and culture.
However, ByteDance may now be looking to divest Moonton, as it refocuses on its core business of short video and social media.