Netmarble Games Debuts Above IPO Price

Netmarble Games Corp., South Korea’s largest mobile games maker, successfully debuted on the country’s main bourse on Friday above its initial public offering (IPO) price to become the most valuable game publisher, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Stocks of Netmarble closed at 162,000 won (US$143.66), up from its IPO price of 157,000 won, although down 1.82 percent from its 165,000 won opening price for the trading session. The country’s key stock index, the KOSPI, shed 0.45 percent. Netmarble’s market capitalization came to at 13.72 trillion won, relegating NCsoft Corp. to the position of second-most-valuable game publisher. NCsoft is valued at 7.69 trillion won on the KOSPI after shedding 4.62 percent.

Netmarble, which sold 20 percent of the company’s outstanding stock, earlier announced that it wants to raise as much as 2.66 trillion won in its initial public offering (IPO).

“Netmarble’s IPO is the new beginning and the company will make an effort to become a global player,” Kwon Young-sig told Yohap News Agency on Friday. The company said it will actively look for overseas business opportunities through mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by acquiring cash from the IPO.

Netmarble Closed at 162,000 Won, Down 1.82 Percent From Its 165,000 Won Opening Price (Image Credit: Bloomberg)

“With the additional cash, total capital of 2.5 trillion won will be created this year,” Kwon said, adding that the company will review an M&A push. In December last year, Netmarble took over Kabam’s Vancouver studio in a deal estimated around $700-800 million, in a bid to expand its presence in the North American market.

The deal with California-headquartered Kabam, a world leader in massively multi-player, free-to-play games for mobile devices, is expected to be reached during the first quarter of 2017. Kabam’s Vancouver unit is responsible for the globally popular MARVEL Contest of Champions which has grossed over $450 million since launching in December 2014.

Analysts attributed Netmarble’s successful IPO to the huge popularity of mobile games not only in the local market but globally. Netmarble posted 1.5 trillion won in sales last year, and logged an operating income of 295.4 billion won on the back of the global popularity of its latest game product “Lineage 2 Revolution.” The mobile role-playing game Lineage 2 Revolution has gained huge success by bringing in more than 100 billion in revenue just two weeks after launch. The game was launched in December 2016.

Netmarble faces some competition as NC Soft is also set to release a role-playing series this year to compete against Lineage 2 Revolution.

Analysts, meanwhile, expect the newly listed stocks will rise to as high as 200,000 won this year.

“Netmarble is a company with stable profitable infrastructure from various genres,” said Hwang Seong-jin, an analyst with HMC Investment Securities Co.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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