Nexon founder to sell $9bn shares

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THE FOUNDER OF KO­REA’S Nexon, one of the big­gest gam­ing com­pa­nies on the planet, to­day ap­peared to ac­knowl­edge his in­ten­tion to sell his con­trol­ling in­ter­est for around $9 bil­lion.

THE FOUNDER OF KO­REA’S Nexon, one of the big­gest gam­ing com­pa­nies on the planet, to­day ap­peared to ac­knowl­edge his in­ten­tion to sell his con­trol­ling in­ter­est for around $9 bil­lion.

The divest­ment has been a hot ru­mor after a re­port from news­pa­per Ko­rea Eco­nomic Daily this week [via Reuters] sug­gested that JungJu Kim, who founded Nexon back in 1989, is mov­ing to sell nearly all of his hold­ings in the firm, which is listed on the Tokyo stock ex­change. Kim, the pa­per claimed, is tired of the ups and downs of the in­dus­try and, fresh from over­turn­ing a bribery charge last year, is ready to chan­nel his en­er­gies into new ar­eas.

In a state­ment re­leased to­day, Kim said he is “con­tem­plat­ing var­i­ous ways to back up Nexon in be­com­ing a more glob­ally com­pet­i­tive firm” while also as­sess­ing “new chal­lenges, with­out grow­ing com­pla­cent.” More in­for­ma­tion will be an­nounced soon, Kim added.

Nexon pro­vided Tech Crunch with a copy of the state­ment in Korean — you can read it on Google Trans­late here — while the com­pany also is­sued a rel­a­tive no com­ment of its own.

There have been sev­eral me­dia re­ports in con­nec­tion with a po­ten­tial trans­ac­tion by NEXON

Co., Ltd. (“NEXON”)’s ma­jor share­holder, NXC Cor­po­ra­tion (“NXC”), or its share­hold­ers.

None of these re­ports are based on any re­leases made by NEXON.

While it may be true that NXC or its share­hold­ers are con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous op­tions about their

as­set man­age­ment/trans­ac­tions, noth­ing has been de­cided.

If a de­ci­sion is made by NXC or any other rel­e­vant par­ties, NEXON will make a re­lease or

dis­clo­sure in a timely man­ner.

Nexon went pub­lic in Tokyo in 2011 rais­ing over $1 bil­lion in the year’s big­gest list­ing. Kim’s hold­ings, which he shares with his wife, are in NXC, which is the big­gest backer of Nexon.

Al­ready, games gi­ants Ten­cent and EA have been linked with a bid for the share­hold­ing. Korean me­dia re­ports sug­gest that Deutsche Bank and Mor­gan Stan­ley have been en­listed to man­age the sale.

Nexon spe­cial­izes in freeto-play games. Ini­tially, its fo­cus was on the PC but it has ex­tended its reach into mo­bile in re­cent years. Some of its most pop­u­lar ti­tles in­clude Maplestory, Vin­dic­tus and Dun­geon and Fighter.

In its most re­cent fi­nan­cial re­port in Novem­ber, Nexon made a net profit of 22.3 bil­lion JPY ($206.5 mil­lion) on to­tal rev­enue of 69.3 bil­lion JPY ($641.7 mil­lion), that was up 14 per­cent and 15 per­cent year-on-year, re­spec­tively. Ko­rea is the com­pany’s big­gest mar­ket by rev­enue, fol­lowed by North Amer­ica, Ja­pan and China.

The com­pany is also ac­tive in ar­eas out­side of gam­ing, in­clud­ing crypto where its sub­sidiaries have made ac­qui­si­tions, and it is an in­vestor, too. Its most re­cent deal was an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic early in­vest­ment in Em­bark Stu­dios, an am­bi­tious new gam­ing ven­ture from for­mer EA ex­ec­u­tive Pa­trick Söder­lund.

Kim

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