Nexon founder said to shelve sale of $13b Asian game developer

FILE PHOTO: Logos of online gaming firm Nexon are seen at its main office building in Seoul, December 14, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Nexon Co.’s founder has shelved a sale process for his stake in the $13 billion Asian game developer, people with knowledge of the matter said.

South Korean billionaire Kim Jung-ju couldn’t reach an agreement on price with suitors, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Kim owns nearly half of Tokyo-listed Nexon through his holding company NXC Corp.

Private equity firms Hillhouse Capital, KKR & Co. and Blackstone Group LP were among parties considering bids for the Nexon stake earlier in the process, Bloomberg News has reported. Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. was considering teaming up with other suitors for a joint offer, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier.

Kim could still decide to revive the sale at a later date, the people said. Representatives for NXC and Nexon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours. The Korea Economic Daily newspaper reported Kim’s plans to halt the sale process on Wednesday in Seoul, citing unidentified people.

Kim founded Nexon in the mid-1990s and pioneered the use of loot boxes, where players purchase virtual merchandise, to help create South Korea’s largest online game publisher. In 2011, he listed Nexon in Japan, tapping a larger and more liquid stock market. Since then, he has slowly lowered his stake through occasional share sales.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.