[THE INVESTOR] The US affiliate of Korea’s mobile gaming giant Netmarble Games is finalizing its initial public offering next year, according to industry sources on June 5.
Jam City, a US casual game developer founded in 2010 by MySpace co-founders DeWolfe and Aber Whitcomb, is selecting advisors for its NASDAQ listing. DeWolfe last year said the firm hopes to get listed no later than the middle of 2019.
Netmarble bought a 60 percent stake in the company behind popular mobile games “Cookie Jam” and “Panda Pop” for US$130 million in 2015 in its attempt to make a foray into the market.
With its aggressive global expansion including the US$800 million acquisition of Kabam in 2016, overseas sales accounted for 68 percent in the first quarter this year for Netmarble, up from 17 percent in 2014.
“We won’t have an opportunity to grow unless we become the world’s top five by 2020,” Netmarble founder and Chairman Bang Joon-hyuk told reporters last year.
With 500 employees, Jam City, which recorded US$390 million in revenue last year, has been working on its own expansion with acquisitions ahead of the expected IPO. Jam City acquired TinyCo, a mobile video game studio and the creator of “Family Guy,” in 2016 and Brainz, a Colombia-based mobile game developer, in March this year.
Emboldened by the possibility of “Candy Crush Saga” creator King’s IPO in 2015, the public offering of Jam City was originally anticipated last year but King’s disappointing debut delayed its listing, analysts said.
Meanwhile, Netmarble is enjoying boy band BTS’s international fame. The firm said it has acquired 25.71 percent in Big Hit Entertainment, which manages the boy band, for 201.4 billion won, becoming the second-largest shareholder.
Shares of Netmarble rose by 1.62 percent to close at 157,000 won on June 4, ending a three-day losing streak.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)