Nexon, the Korean gaming giant, is up for sale. Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju is selling off his controlling stake in the company. For a cool $9 billion, you could take over 98.64% of Nexon shares.
Nexon is pretty much entirely family-owned. Kim Jung-ju himself owns 61.49% of Nexon shares, his wife owns 29.43%, and another 1.72% is owned by Kim’s company Wise Kids. Soon, some lucky buyer will take over all of it. There is a list of usual suspects eyeing Nexon and considering bids, including Tencent, EA, Activision, and Disney. In October 2019, an investment presentation will take place in San Francisco in order to sell the shares.
When those shares do transfer ownership, there will undoubtedly be a huge shift of momentum in the international gaming industry. Nexon publishes most popular online games in South Korea, like Final Fantasy XIV and FIFA Online, and it has its own enormous properties as well, like MapleStory. Nexon services over 350 million subscribers across the world, so whoever takes over is going to absorb a major stake in the PC and mobile gaming market.
Some people have been suggesting Tencent could be the buyer, but Disney has also been pretty aggressive with its investments, lately. MapleStory is an IP that I can see Disney handling with competence, and it could become a huge boon to its branding in the gaming space. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.