Mobile gaming startups TapZen and Magic Pixel have been acquired by San Francisco studio Kabam in separate cash-and-stock deals. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Magic Pixel’s team will move from its LAX-adjacent office into TapZen’s Culver City space, which will serve as Kabam’s first L.A. outpost.

TapZen founder Mike Verdu, also the startup’s chief executive and chief creative officer, was a major draw for the acquisition, said Kabam Chief Operating Officer Kent Wakeford. Verdu, a gaming industry veteran who previously had exec jobs at Zynga and Electronic Arts, made the introduction to Magic Pixel, with whom TapZen collaborated to release the mobile strategy game “This Means War!” last year. It was during that launch that TapZen said it received an $8 million investment from Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings, the fifth largest Internet company in the world.

"When I left Zynga and founded TapZen, I was lucky enough to bring my L.A. team with me and join with Magic Pixel to begin a journey to master mobile gaming, which is clearly the future of the medium," Verdu said in an email. "Now, we have the opportunity to bring it all together: We are blending art and science to build great mobile free-to-play strategy games for large audiences."

Verdu will oversee the combined 40-person team as Kabam looks to strengthen its Hollywood ties. Kabam, which has acquired nine companies since 2010, previously worked with Disney, Warner Bros., MGM and Universal, launching mobile games for franchises such as “Lord of the Rings,” “The Hunger Games” and “Fast and Furious.”

“As you look at mobile gaming, the fidelity, the console-like experiences and the storytelling are rivaling that of console games,” Wakeford said. “Los Angeles has some of the greatest creative talent in the world so a big part of this is being able to bring that creative talent together.”

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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