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Report: Disney offered controlling stake in South Korea’s biggest gaming company, Nexon

Disney has been offered an opportunity to secure a controlling stake in South Korea’s biggest gaming company, Nexon.

The Korea Herald and JoongAng Ilbo (via GI.biz) report that Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju has taken steps to propose a possible acquisition directly to “a high-ranking Disney representative” as the megacorp “has a special place in Kim’s heart”.

“What I envy the most about Disney is that they do not force money out of kids… (consumers) gladly pay Disney. Nexon has a long way to go. Some people hate Nexon to death,” Jung-ju reportedly said in 2015.

Jung-ju 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. According to South Korean publication, Maeil Business Newspaper, investment bank sources were behind the rumours, but none of the companies concerned would comment publicly to either confirm or deny the claims and the controlling stake has yet to be acquired.

“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 wrote off the entire value of hero shooter Lawbreakers last year, claiming that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made the market environment tough for first-person shooters.

Lawbreakers was one of the highest profile failures in video games recent memory, a critically well-received game that struggled to find an audience on console or PC. In a Q&A session with their investors, Nexon’s chief financial officer Shiro Uemura said: “we will not be accruing any other impairment loss pertaining to Lawbreakers in the future”.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond.

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