[THE INVESTOR] Netmarble Games, Korea’s leading mobile game maker, said on Feb 1 it is mulling to acquire rival NXC, joining other big names eyeing the holding firm of Korean-Japanese internet game developer Nexon.
“As we are concerned about the possible destruction of the ecosystem and weakening competitiveness of the country's game industry in the case of an overseas sale, we’ve decided to participate in the bid for NXC by forming a consortium with other domestic investors,” Netmarble said in a statement.
“After reviewing for two months, we concluded that the acquisition of Nexon would create great synergies. We have already contacted financial companies and there won’t be much problem funding the deal.”
Kakao mulls acquiring Nexon
The online game publisher’s announcement came a day after mobile messenger operator Kakao said it is considering to buy a controlling stake in NXC.
Netmarble’s acquisition of Nexon could create the world’s ninth largest game company. Their combined annual sales reaches 4.7 trillion won, close to Netmarble’s annual sales goal of 5 trillion won by 2020.
As part of its global expansion strategy, the company has pushed forward sizable M&A deals including the acquisition of US game maker Kabam’s Vancouver studio in 2017 and puzzle game developer SGN, now renamed Jam City, in 2015.
The Nexon deal is expected to reach more than 10 trillion won for 98.64 percent of NXC held by Chairman Kim Jung-ju.
Kim, who founded Nexon 1994, said earlier in January that he was looking at various options to make the game company more globally competitive.
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 Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)