The Tokyo-headquartered Nexon has strong roots in South Korea and is available to buy after its founder announced his intention to sell his 98.64 per cent controlling stake in the firm - worth around $8.9 billion.
During an investor call following its Q4 financials, Netmarble CIO Jangwon Seo said it began reviewing the possibility of a Nexon acquisition two months ago. One month ago the company decided to make a bid.
While Netmarble executives were coy on precise details of how it will make a deal work, Seo said that with some leverage the publisher “could do the funding ourselves”. He noted there was cash available to help fund the deal.
What that leverage is remains to be seen. It has been reported that Netmarble has put a consortium together that consists of private equity firm MBK Partners and Tencent.
A good fit?
Answering why Netmarble was interested in buying Nexon, the former’s CEO Kwon Young Sig talked up the “many excellent and outstanding game IPs” the company has, as well as its significant development capabilities.
“We value these capabilities or competencies,” he said.
“As for Netmarble, we can bring to the table our mobile competency plus global publishing capability and bringing them all together can lead to a good synergy.”
Netmarble’s latest financial report showed the company had declining revenue and profits year-on-year in Q4 2018. Net profit fell by 72.1 per cent year-on-year to $13 million, while sales dropped 20.9 per cent to $432m.
The publisher put the declines in down to slowing sales of its existing titles like Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and a lack of new game releases.