Netmarble Games eyes $2.35bn IPO

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Netmarble Games, South Korea's largest mobile games company, says it plans an initial public offering (IPO) worth up to 2.66 trillion won ($2.35 billion) in what could be the country's second-largest listing ever.

The Tencent-backed company said in a regulatory filing it had set an indicative price range of 120 000 won to 157 000 won per share, valuing the IPO at about 2.05 trillion won to 2.66 trillion won.

If it prices in the mid-to-high indicative range, the KOSPI listing is expected to be the second-largest for South Korea, beating Samsung BioLogics' 2.25 trillion won IPO last year, and just behind the 4.9 trillion won IPO of Samsung Life Insurance in 2010.

Netmarble will be issuing about 16.95 million new shares for the IPO, which will be 20% of total shares on listing, the company said in a statement. It is not selling any existing shares through the IPO.

Netmarble, which is listing to raise funds for mergers and acquisitions, aims to raise its ranking in key markets to reach its goal of becoming a global top-5 games firm by 2020, Netmarble founder Bang Jun-hyuk told Reuters in January.

The company, which acquired US games developer Kabam's Vancouver studio in February for an undisclosed amount, reported 1.5 trillion won in consolidated revenue and 284.7 billion won in operating profit in 2016, up from 1.1 trillion won in revenue and 225.3 billion won in operating profit in 2015.

Bang had a 30.6% stake in Netmarble at end-2016, with entertainment firm CJ E&M holding 27.6% and Tencent holding 22.2% through an investment vehicle.

Bookbuilding will take place from 11-20 April, after which pricing will be determined, the firm added.

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