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More business in brief

Published:Tuesday | September 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Microsoft to buy 'Minecraft' maker for US$2.5b

Microsoft will acquire the maker of the long-running hit game Minecraft for US$2.5 billion as the company continues to invest in its Xbox gaming platform and looks to grab attention on mobile phones.

The technology company said it will buy Stockholm-based game maker Mojang in a deal expected to close in late 2014.

Minecraft, which lets users build in and explore a Lego-like virtual multiplayer world, has been downloaded 100 million times on PC alone since its launch in 2009. It is the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system in the US.

Microsoft said it will to continue to make Minecraft available across all the platforms on which it is available today - PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.

"Minecraft is more than a great game franchise it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Egypt raises US$8.5b for Suez Canal expansion

The head of Egypt's Central Bank said on Monday it has raised US$8.5 billion for the construction of an expansion of the Suez Canal by selling investment certificates.

Hisham Ramez told Al-Hayat TV that the bank secured the funds in just eight days by selling non-tradable certificates with a maturity of five years at 12 per cent interest to Egyptian nationals.

He said that by Monday the bank had collected 61 billion Egyptian pounds (US$8.5 billion).

Egypt is the gatekeeper of the canal, one of the world's busiest water corridors and the strategic link between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. It is one of Egypt's main sources of income, generating annual revenues of US$5 billion.

The government says the new canal section will shorten the waiting period from 11 to three hours and increase the number of ships that can navigate the canal simultaneously from an average of 23 to 97.