Amazon.com, Comcast and Electronic Arts have joined the race for Korean game company Nexon, local business newspaper Maeil Business reported on Feb. 28.
“In addition to the companies already known to have participated in the preliminary bid to buy Nexon, Amazon, Comcast and EA have all submitted their bids,” an anonymous source in investment banking industry was quoted as saying in the report. “Apparently, Amazon and Comcast have quite strong interest in Nexon,” the source said.
Initially, market observers said the takeover, worth between 10 trillion won (US$8.88 billion) to 13 trillion won, would be a tight competition among mobile game publisher NetMarble, mobile behemoth Kakao and private equity funds KKR, Bain Capital and MBK Partners.
Amazon, Comcast and EA are all eyeing to boost their game business, analysts said.
Amazon acquired GameSparks, a British cloud gaming platform, last year. The acquisition was a sign of its ambition to expand in cloud gaming platform, according to analysts. “We believe that Amazon has set cloud gaming as its core business next to e-commerce, clouding service and contents,” said Chung Heui-seok, an analyst at Korea Investment and Securities.
Comcast, the world’s second largest cable TV network with over 54 million subscribers, took part in the bid through its subsidiary Universal, also for similar reasons to boost its gaming business, according to the analyst. Comcast Spectacor, a sports and entertainment subsidiary of Comcast, and SK Telecom on Feb. 25 announced they have set up a joint venture to cooperate in e-sports business in a recent move to expand services.
Electronic Arts, an American video game company, is a long-time partner of Nexon for FIFA Online series.
Nexon founder and Chairman Kim Jung-ju and his family are trying to sell their 98.64 percent stake in NXC, the holding company of Nexon Japan. NXC holds 47.98 percent shares of Nexon Japan, which wholly owns Nexon Korea.
Following the news, shares of the game company’s affiliate Nexon GT rose more than 17 percent in morning trading.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)