There were reports earlier this month that claimed Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju was preparing to sell his 98.64% controlling stake in Nexon. Now it seems that it is officially up for sale, which effectively makes Nexon for sale. The controlling stake in the company is reportedly worth $8.9 billion and there are quite a few big names interested in buying it.
According to Korean news website Daum Tencent, EA, Activision, and Disney are all listed as interested parties. In addition to that Goldman Sachs is assisting Tencent. American investment firms KKR, TPG, and Carlyle are also reportedly looking to partner with US gaming companies to gather the funds necessary to place a bid. An investment presentation session is planned for October in San Francisco to sell the shares. So, American companies do have some time to coordinate and decide if they want to make a bid or not.
For anyone who has been following gaming business news (we have a weekly column on Tuesdays) it won’t come as a surprise at all to see Tencent on the list of potentially interested buyers. They’ve been snatching up shares in game companies all around the world for years now and making a lot of really profitable business moves.
Given everything that has been happening with Activision recently, it is both a surprise and isn’t a surprise to see them on the list. Nexon has been thriving thanks to their early adoption of mobile gaming and Activision could really use that on their side right now. However, $8.9 billion is a lot of money and it could be a risky move. It’s a move that makes sense for EA who don’t really seem to be having a great time the last couple of years. Disney is the big surprise. They don’t really have a strong gaming presence. Of course, they are Disney, they own the rights to…well the childhoods of anyone born after 1980 if we’re honest. Getting a controlling stake in Nexon would be massive for them as they could make a lot of games based on their IPs. Plus, every time a new Disney movie comes out…having a tie in mobile game would be huge!
We’ll be following this story closely as it is an early contender for biggest news story of 2019.
Source: Games Industry