Netmarble Games raises $2.3 bln in S.Korea's second-biggest IPO


Reuters

UPDATE 2-Netmarble Games raises $2.3 bln in S.Korea's second-biggest IPO


* S.Korea's biggest mobile games maker prices IPO at top of
range
    * IPO values firm at 13.3 trln won
    * Firm's S.Korea-only title named February's top earner
globally
    * Firm has strong lineup of games -analyst

 (Adds analyst quotes, valuation, background)
    By Joyce LeeSEOUL, April 21 (Reuters) - Netmarble Games Corp, South
Korea's largest mobile games maker, has raised $2.3 billion in
the country's second-biggest share sale, just weeks after one of
its domestic-only titles sold so well it was named the world's
best-selling mobile game.
    The firm priced its initial public offering (IPO) at the top
of an indicative range as largely expected, analysts said, due
to its ability to consistently publish hit games in the highly
competitive mobile sector.
    Most recently, role-playing mobile game "Lineage II:
Revolution", released in December, was named the world's biggest
earner in February by games data provider SuperData, despite
only being available in its home country.
    South Korea is the fourth-largest games market after China,
the United States and Japan, with annual revenue of about $4
billion, showed June 2016 data from researcher Newzoo.
    "The company not only has just released a mega-hit game the
likes of which has never been seen in South Korea, but it is
seen to have a strong lineup of games coming soon in the mobile
games sector, where it's often a while before a developer
releases another game," said analyst Jang Won-yeol at Shinyoung
Securities.
    "The amount of shares offered was almost nonexistent
compared to demand," Jang said.
    Netmarble said it sold 17 million shares - about 20 percent
of the firm - for 157,000 won each, the top of an indicative
price range whose bottom was 121,000 won. That earned the firm
about 2.66 trillion won ($2.3 billion) and valued it at 13.3
trillion won.
    The size of the IPO surpassed the 2.25 trillion won listing
of Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd <207940.KS> last year, and is second
only to the 4.9 trillion won IPO of Samsung Life Insurance Co
Ltd <032830.KS> in 2010.
    The firm, backed by China'sTencent Holdings Ltd <0700.HK>,
earlier this week said it planned to use the proceeds, plus cash
flow and borrowings, to raise 5 trillion won for acquisitions.
[nL3N1GX0PC]
    Through acquisitions, Netmarble wants to expand its share of
the gaming market in North America and Europe to become a
top-five games company by 2020, its founder told Reuters in
January.
    The games industry has recently seen a series of
high-profile mergers and acquisitions as firms consolidate to
gain market share.
    In June, a consortium including Shanghai Giant Network
Technology Co Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> founder
Jack Ma agreed to buy Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc's
online games unit for $4.4 billion. [nL1N1AG0HE]

($1 = 1,133.8700 won)

 (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and
Christopher Cushing)
 ((jungyoon.lee@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5609; Reuters
Messaging: jungyoon.lee.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: NETMARBLE IPO/ (UPDATE 2, PIX)



This article appears in: Politics , World Markets , Economy , US Markets , Stocks , IPOs
Referenced Symbols: 032830 , 0700 , 207940 , BABA


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