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IPOs

Krafton aims to become global content provider with $3.7 bn IPO

To invest 70% of proceeds in global M&As, and some 15% in India, Middle East, N. Africa

By Jul 26, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Krafton's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
Krafton's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

South Korean game developer Krafton Inc. dreams of growing into global content provider with an up to $3.7 billion fund to be raised from an initial public offering (IPO) next month.

The developer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) plans to use 70% of the proceeds for global buyouts and 15% for investment in other countries such as India, its top executives said on July 26.

“Krafton is not a simple game developer, but a company with intellectual property (IP) competitiveness based on games,” said Chang Byung-gyu, the company's founder and chairman, during an online press conference.

“It is questionable if Krafton is good at making movies or animated films. But there is no doubt that global customers want expansion and variety centered on powerful media such as games. That is the direction of the future media development environment.”

Krafton plans to go public to raise as much as 4.3 trillion won ($3.7 billion) next month by selling 8.6 million shares between 400,000 won and 498,000 won. It is set to complete its bookbuilding process by July 27 and receive bids from retail investors Aug. 2-3.

SPENDING MOST ON GLOBAL BUSINESS

Much of the proceeds from the IPO are to be spent on global business, said Krafton's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Bae Dong-keun.

“Seventy percent of the funds secured from the listing are earmarked for global M&As (mergers and acquisitions),” Bae said. “We have been building a database of intellectual property with potential and influential global developers and making contact with them over the last two years.”

Krafton aims to invest 15% of the fund in overseas markets such as India, the Middle East and North Africa, while spending the rest on high-performance equipment.

It already has a foothold in India through establsihing PUBG India Pvt. Ltd. in November of last year in an aim to capture the market of the second-largest populated country in the world. Krafton has also invested some 800 billion won so far in the country including a 25.5 billion won minority investment in NOWDIN Gaming in March.

Krafton Chairman Chang Byung-gyu speaks during an online press conference on July 26.
Krafton Chairman Chang Byung-gyu speaks during an online press conference on July 26.


'OVERVALUED? WE DON’T THINK SO'

Krafton’s top executives have countered debate over high valuation, saying some investors see the IPO as undervalued.

Earlier this month, it lowered the IPO share price from the initially proposed range of 458,000-557,000 won amid some concerns that the offering may be too expensive.

As a result, its market capitalization upon listing is expected to hover between 19.6 trillion won and 24.4 trillion won, still higher than local market leader Nexon’s 21.6 trillion won and NCSoft Corp.’s 18.2 trillion won.

Despite some worries about valuation, global investors, including long-term investors, were keen to participate in the IPO, its executives said.

“We have heard that some foreign investors were considering investment in Korean companies for the first time because of Krafton,” Chairman Chang said.

Krafton aims to expand its business to entertainment sectors such as movies. The company recently partnered with Hollywood film producer Adi Shankar to create an animated film based on PUBG. It also released Mysteries Unknown, a documentary about PUBG as well as Ground Zero, a movie starring Don Lee.

Write to Ye-jin Jun at ace@hankyung.com

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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