EA, Tencent are Two Potential Buyers For South Korean Gaming Giant Nexon

EA, Tencent are Two Potential Buyers For South Korean Gaming Giant Nexon

The sale could potentially be worth billions.

The founder of Nexon, one of the largest video game companies in South Korea, is getting ready to sell his controlling stake estimated to be worth around $9 billion USD according to reports from Seoul.

The Korea Economic Daily newspaper (via Reuters) reported that the sale includes the combined controlling stake in Nexon held by founder Kim Jung-ju and his wife. Kim currently serves as the chairman of NXC, a holding company for Nexon which owns a 57.8 percent stake in Nexon Japan, which in turn holds the entire stake in Nexon Korea according to The Investor.co.kr.

The Korean Herald reports that NXC is currently trying to verify the reports, suggesting that Kim's decision to sell his majority stake was not brought to the company's attention prior to reports of the sale.

Best known for games like Maple Story, Nexon hosts a variety of popular online MMO games. In recent years Nexon has partnered with other companies to develop and release games based on popular foreign IP like Counter-Strike, Final Fantasy XIV, and FIFA Online in Korean markets.

According to Oh Don-hwan, an analyst at Samsung Securities, "there will be very limited buyers with the ability to purchase Nexon," as a result of the enormous value of the sale. In fact, early names of potential buyers include major corporations like Tencent, EA, and Korean rivals like Netmarble.

There is no immediate explanation for the sudden sale and Nexon has yet to make an official statement. Kim told The Investor in May 2018 that he wouldn't be passing down the company to his kids, a seeming rebuke against the corporate system in South Korea where many of the country's largest companies, like Hyundai and Samsung, are owned by multi-generational families.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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