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IPOs

Mobile game developer Netmarble Neo kicks off IPO process

If successful, it will be the largest game developer to go public after Krafton

By Jun 27, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Netmarble Neo's popular mobile game Lineage 2: Revolution
Netmarble Neo's popular mobile game Lineage 2: Revolution

Following in the footsteps of its bigger rival Krafton Inc., South Korean mobile game developer Netmarble Neo has kicked off its initial public offering process with an aim to go public in the second half of this year.

The mobile game developing unit of game publisher Netmarble Corp. on June 25 filed for a preliminary review by the Korea Exchange, the stock market operator, of its plan to list its shares on the main Kospi market.

Barring the unexpected, the stock will start trading on the main bourse later this year, according to industry officials.

Mirae Asset Securities Co. and NH Investment & Securities Co. are managing the game developer’s IPO.

Netmarble Neo, which was split off from its parent Netmarble in 2012, is known for the popular mobile game title “Lineage 2: Revolution,” the first massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) of its kind, launched in 2016.

Since its launch as a separate entity, Netmarble Neo has grown bigger by acquiring rivals such as Turnon Games, ReBorn Games and Nurien.

Netmarble Neo's other big-hit mobile games include “Go! Go! Go! Racer” and “The King of Fighters Allstar.” It also plans to launch a new mobile game, “Second Country: Cross Worlds,” based on the popular Japanese role-playing game “Ni no Kuni,” later this year.

The company posted an operating profit of 43.2 billion won ($38.3 million) on revenue of 88.1 billion won last year. In the first quarter of this year, its operating profit fell 90% on year to 2 billion won.

VALUATION AT 1 TRILLION WON

The investment banking industry estimates Netmarble Neo’s corporate value at around 1 trillion won.

In the Korean over-the-counter (K-OTC) market operated by the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA), Netmarble Neo’s stock is trading at 180,000 won apiece, bringing its market capitalization to 2.26 trillion won.

Netmarble's Seven Knights
Netmarble's Seven Knights

The company’s Kospi debut, if successful, will follow moves by its bigger rival Krafton Inc., which is seeking to list its shares on the domestic market before year-end.

One of the country’s biggest game developers, Kcrafton is looking to raise up to 5.6 trillion won via an IPO.

Krafton's bookbuilding for institutional investors is slated between June 28 to July 7, followed by public subscriptions on July 14 and 15. But the IPO schedule could be delayed as the financial regulator recently took issue with the company’s proposed IPO price, saying its value has been set too high.

Krafton is known for its popular game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).

Korea’s game industry is expected to grow 7.4% year on year to 18.3 trillion won in sales this year, driven by new game launches and rising exports.

Write to Jin-Seong Kim at Jskim1028@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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