South Korea’s top mobile game developer Netmarble Games Corp. announced on Monday it will put new shares worth up to 2.7 trillion won ($2.41 billion) on sale next month, kicking off the official process of its much anticipated initial public offering.
The company said in a regulatory filing that it will sell 16,953,612 new shares (20 percent of total listing stocks) at a desired price band of 121,000 won and 157,000 won apiece on Apr. 25 and 26, which is expected to help the company raise from 2.1 trillion won to 2.7 trillion won. Final pricing will be determined after its book-building session planned from Apr. 11 to 20.
About a year ago, the game company founder and senior advisor Bang Jun-hyuk announced that the game maker would go for public early this year at the latest to secure funds for merger and acquisition, global marketing and investments for future businesses. The industry experts estimated the company’s market capitalization after the IPO at around 10 trillion won, beating its rival NCsoft Corp. worth 6.45 trillion won as of late last year. The company is aiming to list in Seoul’s main bourse Kospi.
Netmarble rode on the mobile game boom with blockbuster titles such as Lineage 2: Revolution, Everybody’s Marble, Seven Nights and Marvel Future Fight. The company reported 295.4 billion won in operating profit on revenue of 1.5 trillion won last year, surpassing 1 trillion won in annual revenue for the second time since 2015. Revenue from overseas significantly rose to 51 percent of its total revenue in 2016 from 28 percent in 2015 and 17 percent in 2014.
Industry watchers also expect Netmarble to dethrone Nexon Co. as the nation’s largest game developer this year if the fad over Lineage 2: Revolution continues after raking in 206 billion won in sales in the first month of its launch last December.
According to mobile app data and insights firm App Annie, Netmarble is the ninth-largest game publisher in the world in terms of revenue last year. Looking at its revenue off the Google Play store, it is the world’s third-largest game publisher.
Netmarble that is seeking to expand the presence of its games in western market recently acquired U.S. Kabam, Inc.’s Vancouver Studio which is responsible for most of U.S. firm’s revenue with its blockbuster game Marvel: Contest of Champions. The deal was purportedly closed at around $700 million to $800 million, the biggest overseas buyout for a Korean game developer.
By Oh Chan-jong
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]