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Games

Nexon invests $400 mn in Avengers directors' film company

The Korean game developer may invest another $100 mn in AGBO to expand its global film and TV IPs

By Jan 06, 2022 (Gmt+09:00)

Avengers: EndGame released in 2019
Avengers: EndGame released in 2019

Online game developer Nexon Co. has completed a $400 million investment in AGBO, a US entertainment company founded by Avengers film series co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo and film producer Mike Larocca, the South Korean gaming giant said on Jan. 6.  

The strategic minority investment has resulted in Nexon owning at least a 38% stake in AGBO, thus becoming the second-largest shareholder after the entertainment company's management. If requested by AGBO, Nexon will invest up to an additional $100 million in the first half of 2022, the gaming company said. The deal has valued AGBO at $1.1 billion, Nexon stated.

Through the investment, Nexon will accelerate the global expansion of its franchise intellectual property (IP) in film and television. The gaming company will also support AGBO’s production and ownership of content, including through online games and virtual worlds.   

The investment was led by Nexon Film & Television, the gaming company’s LA-based film and TV division launched in July of 2021. Nick van Dyk, a former president of Activision Blizzard Studios and senior vice president of The Walt Disney Company, is running the Nexon division. He is the executive vice president and chief strategy officer for global strategic planning, mergers and acquisition, franchise management and partnerships for Nexon. Dyk and Tim Connors, the Nexon division’s senior vice president and a former chief operating officer of Marvel Studios, have recently been added to AGBO’s board of directors.    

Nexon has accelerated its content IP businesses through investing in the global entertainment sector. In June 2020, the gaming company announced that it will invest $1.5 billion in other listed companies, adding that it is looking for firms that share Nexon’s vision for creating and sustaining strong IPs across multiple markets. 

In March of 2021, the game developer disclosed investments it made in 2020, totaling $874 million or 58% of the $1.5 billion investment approved by its board. The investees include US toy giant Hasbro Inc., Japan’s leading game companies Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., Konami Holdings Co. and Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. 

In its virtual media event held last August, Nexon’s Chief Executive Lee Jung-hun said the gaming company will broaden its portfolio to include attractive entertainment IPs, looking beyond game IPs. The gaming company plans to hire over 1,000 employees by the end of this year to boost its game development and secure content IPs.   

Nexon was founded in 1994 by Kim Jung-ju, chairman of Nexon's holding company NXC Corp. It has more than 50 live games available in more than 190 countries. Major game franchises include MapleStory, with more than 1.3 billion registered players worldwide, KartRider and Dungeon&Fighter. The company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Founded in 2017, LA-based AGBO produces film, TV, audio and interactive content. The Russo brothers, world-renowned co-directors of the Avengers and Captain America series, and Larocca have together worked with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney and others.

Write to Joo-wan Kim at kjwan@hankyung.com

Jihyun Kim edited this article.
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