South Korea’s biggest gaming company, Nexon, has not been able to secure a buyer for what could’ve been “the largest M&A transaction in South Korea”.
CEO Jungju Kim revealed plans to sell a 98.64% stake in the company earlier this year. Amazon, Comcast, and Electronic Arts were thought to have each submitted bids for NXC Corp, the holding firm of Nexon, at the end of February, and Disney is believed to have been offered an opportunity to secure a controlling stake in the firm.
The Korea Economic Daily’s Korean Investors publication is now reporting (thanks, GameDaily.Biz) that the consortium thought to be interested in picking up the company couldn’t secure the $9 billion USD deal. According to Korean Investors, the consortium was unable to convince Nexon CEO Jungju Kim to sell to a private equity firm.
“CEO Kim didn’t like the shortlisted bidders composed of Netmarble and PEF companies,” a source with “deep knowledge” told the Korean Investors.
“We believe that the tangible and intangible value of Nexon is a very important asset for the country,” Netmarble said via a statement earlier this year, maintaining that a sale to an overseas company would be problematic. “If Nexon is sold to an overseas firm, the Korean game industry and ecosystem could be damaged and its competitiveness weakened.”
Nexon reported a record-breaking start to its financial year, with “revenues, operating income and net income” all exceeding expectations. In its latest financial report, Nexon confirmed its total revenues for the first three months of the fiscal year was up 3 per cent year-over-year (YoY), coming in at ¥93.07 billion ($840.5m), of which ¥77.6bn ($701m) was generated by PC games, and ¥15.4bn ($139m) by its mobile business.
Net income, too, was up, jumping by 15 per cent to ¥53.4bn ($482m).
“We can’t rule out the possibility that NXC would be put up for sale again, but it seems unlikely to happen for some time,” added another source.