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Kakao Games

Kakao Games gears up to become Korea’s IPO blockbuster of the year

Aug 27, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Kakao Games Corp. is set to be South Korea’s biggest initial public offering of the year backed by overwhelming demand seen during its bookbuilding for institutional investors on August 26 and 27, according to the investment banking industry.


Around 270 billion won ($227 million), 71% from the 380 billion won offering, was allocated to institutional investors, with demand exceeding a staggering 270 trillion won. Unlike the general subscription process, no deposits are needed from institutional investors at this stage, thus no actual funds were injected during the process. There was also a high portion of lock-up provisions during the bookbuilding.

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The game unit of Korea’s leading mobile messaging app Kakao Corp. aims to make its trading debut on the tech-heavy KOSDAQ in mid-September.

Kakao Games’ offering price is expected to be fixed at 24,000 won, at the higher end of the 20,000 won to 24,000 won band. The company has decided not to further increase the price.

The final offering price will be announced on August 31, with the subscription process for retail investors set for September 1 and 2.

For the public offering, Kakao Games plans to issue 16 million shares to both institutional and individual investors. The company's enterprise value is projected at 1.76 trillion won based on the proposed IPO price.

Kakao Games plans to use the proceeds to carry out active M&As within the game sector and diversify its content portfolio. In addition to robust M&A activity, the company will also shore up its portfolio of directly developed games by investing in game companies, said the company’s chief executive officer Namkoong Whon during an online conference on August 26. 

The company's shares are expected to surge upon listing, riding on the recent BBIG (bio, battery, internet, game) wave where non-contact, non-face-to-face sectors have been bullish amid the global pandemic. Meanwhile, Kakao Games’ valuation hovers around the industry average, which is likely to limit further price increases in the long term.

The company earned 27.8 billion won in net profit on revenues of 203 billion won in the first half of this year, up 264% and 8.2% year on year, respectively.

The company’s affiliates Kakao Page Corp., Kakao Commerce Corp., and Kakao Bank are also expected to prepare for listings.

By Ye-jin Jun and Woo-sang Lee

ace@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article

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