Microsoft 'in discussions' to buy Minecraft maker Mojang AB

The reported deal could be signed off as early as next week

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The Independent Online

Microsoft Corp is reportedly in discussions to buy the Swedish company Mojang AB, the makers of the Minecraft video game.

The deal, which could be signed off as early as next week, would be valued at more than $2 billion (£1.2 billion), the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources close to the matter.

The news comes just a few months after Mojang revealed that it had sold nearly 54 million copies of Minecraft across all platforms. The building game, which has become a phenomenon since it was released in 2009, was also named the top-selling paid-for app of the year by iTunes in 2013.

The potential deal has been seen as surprising, given that Mojang’s founder Markus “Notch” Persson has publicly criticised Microsoft in the past. Ahead of the release of Microsoft 8 he suggested that the computer operating system could be “very, very bad for Indie games.”

But according to Bloomberg, it was Persson who approached Microsoft a few months ago – although he reportedly plans to leave following the transition. 

If agreed, the deal would be the biggest to date for chief executive Satya Badella, who took over from Steve Ballmer in February.

It marks a move towards more web-based services for Microsoft and the company reportedly hopes to boost its Xbox sales via the acquisition.

However, a Microsoft spokesman declined to comment, as did Mojang chief executive Carl Manneh, the Journal said.