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THE INVESTOR
April 25, 2019
Big Reunion

Deals

Kakao mulls acquiring Nexon

  • PUBLISHED :January 30, 2019 - 11:00
  • UPDATED :January 30, 2019 - 16:37
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[THE INVESTOR] Kakao is considering acquiring controlling stake in NXC, the holding firm of Korean-Japanese internet game software developer Nexon, becoming the first local firm to express interest in the megadeal.

“We are looking into various aspects of the purchase,” an official at Kakao said, without elaborating further.

Related:
Tencent and Nexon, an unlikely match
Korean gaming industry faces deeper Chinese invasion

The Jeju Island-headquartered internet giant is the operator of mobile messenger app KakaoTalk and search engine Daum, among others. Its key subsidiaries include game software developer Kakao Games, mobile payment service provider Kakao Pay and ride-hailing app operator Kakao Mobility.

Kakao is estimated to have up to some 1.2 trillion won (US$1.07 billion) cash reserves, according to Lee Min-a, an analyst at KTB Investment & Securities. This highlights the firm’s need to take corporate loans or form a consortium with financial investors to buy 98.64 percent of NXC stocks worth over 10 trillion won.

This comes after NXC Chairman Kim Jung-ju earlier in January announced he was considering various options to make Nexon a more globally competitive company, in response to rumors that he intends to sell NXC shares owned by himself and his family.

The preliminary bid for the takeover is expected to take place in mid-February. Market watchers have said potential bidders include private equity firms such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TPG Capital, The Carlyle Group and MBK Partners, as well as Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)

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