Kakao Games Corp., the game developing unit of South Korea’s leading mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp., secured 140 billion won ($129.2 million) from outside investors including Chinese tech giant Tencent and Korea’s top game publisher Netmarble Games Corp. to strengthen its gaming business.
The company said Tuesday its board of directors approved a plan to issue shares worth 140 billion won to five outside investors, including Netmarble Games which contributed 50 billion won. Other Korean game developers Actoz Soft Co. and Bluehole Inc. added 20 billion won and 10 billion won, respectively. Tencent put up 50 billion won and Premier Growth M&A private equity fund 10 billion won.
The proceeds would be used to bolster its game lineup, improve developing capabilities as well as expand global operations and finance future investments for growth, the company said.
The investors are mostly those that have been in a long strategic partnership with Kakao Games. Netmarble Games, a longtime client and partner of Kakao Games, has published all of its blockbuster hits, including Marble of Everything and Seven Knights, through the Kakao platform. Nam Goong-hoon, chief executive of Kakao Games, reportedly pitched the rights offering plan to Netmarble Chairman Bang Jun-hyuk at the G-star trade show in November.
Tencent and Bluehole have been partners of Kakao Games’ online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. With Actoz Soft, Kakao published Dragon Nest, with the mobile version Dragon Nest M to be jointly launched in the first half of this year.
The recapitalization is expected to add weight to Kakao Games` plans to go public in the latter half. Observers estimate its market value to be between 1 trillion and 1.5 trillion won.
By Lee Sun-hee and Kim Hyo-jin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]