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Microsoft reported in talks to buy Minecraft game maker

SEATTLE -- Microsoft, maker of the Xbox video-game console, is in discussions to acquire Mojang, the software company behind the popular game Minecraft, for more than $2 billion, three people with knowledge of the talks said.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, is in serious talks with 4-year-old Mojang, said the people, who asked not to be named because the negotiations aren't public. The deal may be concluded as soon as this week, though next week is more likely, said two people.

A purchase of Mojang would be the biggest deal struck since Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft's chief executive in February, succeeding Steve Ballmer.

Nadella has been shifting the company's focus more toward Web-based services and cloud computing. It has also renewed a push to woo serious gamers to the Xbox, following a lackluster attempt to turn the system into a device to serve up broader content such as movies and music.

Mojang "is one of the greatest success stories in gaming over the last 10 years," said Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in New York. "They've sold a lot of copies of Minecraft over the Xbox."

Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, declined to comment. Jonas Maartensson, a vice president at Stockholm-based Mojang, also declined to comment.

The deal came together after Mojang founder Markus Persson reached out to Microsoft a few months ago, based on a positive working relationship on Minecraft for Xbox, said the person familiar with Microsoft. The two companies have been working out the details

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