Major foreign entertainment names reportedly are absent in the tender for NXC Corp., the parent company of South Korea’s largest gaming company Nexon, with the competition restricted mostly to Korean gamers backed by equity funds from home and abroad.
Korean tech firms Netmarble and Kakao along with private equity funds MBK Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and Bain Capital reportedly submitted their final bids to buy a 94.64 percent stake in NXC that Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju put up for sale earlier this year, according to multiple industry sources on Sunday. The sale is led by Deutsche Bank and UBS, and the main tender was closed in the U.S. last Friday (local time). Chinese gaming giant Tencent Holdings, one of the most highly anticipated contenders for the bid, did not take part.
No details including the date the shortlist will be released were disclosed.
The deadline for the formal bid was initially planned for April after letters of intent were received in February, but had to be pushed back, at least once at the request from the potential bidder.
Amid delays, the M&A and gaming market began to speculate whether the mega deal estimated at around $12 billion can go through. It remains unclear how the bid process will pan out as there could be more match-making in the process of due diligence.
Industry experts presume Tencent will likely take part in some way or another by joining the winning consortium. The Chinese firm is the second largest shareholder of Kakao and third largest shareholder of Netmarble. It also is the sole distributor of Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter game in China, paying 1 trillion won ($847 billion) yearly to the Korean game publisher.
By Chung Seok-hwan and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]