Netmarble, a South Korean gaming firm, is another business looking to place a controlling bid in Nexon’s holding company, reports Reuters. The group is creating a consortium to follow through on their proposal.
It was recently revealed that the founder of Nexon, NXC Corp, is putting the company up for sale. The Maplestory 2 developer is supposedly worth around $9 billion. Putting it up for sale is Kim Jung-ju, who owns 98.64% of the company between him and his wife. Wise Kids, another company owned by Jung-ju, owns 1.72% with a few smaller businesses holding the rest.
This news isn’t entirely surprising, with Netmarble announcing their interest in bidding last month. Another firm, Kakao, announced that their” bid to acquire Nexon is under thorough review” on Wednesday, which must be partly why Netmarble revealed their interest the day after. Tencent, TPG Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Carlyle, and MBK Partners make up the other interested parties. Bidding is to start in mid-February.
That said, Netmarble believes the company should stay within Korean boundaries. Selling to an off-shore group would be bad for the South Korean games industry. “We believe the tangible and intangible values of Nexon are important assets to Korea,” revealed Netmarble via a statement.
Unsurprisingly, analysts call Tencent the “most likely candidate” regarding the acquisition, as they have over $100 billion to spend, reports The Korea Times. That said, it’s important to note that Tencent holds a significant stake in Kakao and some stake in Netmarble. Also, Kakao only has $895 million to spend on Nexon. The group will have to take out a loan to afford Nexon.
Nexon is South Korea’s biggest gaming firm. Netmarble, however, holds 1/4 of its mobile market. Jung-ju founded the company in 1994 and created uber-popular games like MapleStory, Dungeon & Fighter, and Crazy Arcade. Overall, the company worked on over 80 titles across 190 countries.