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Rumors about Nexon purchase boost GT stock

Jan 24,2019
A report that Samsung Electronics may jump into the race to buy gaming giant Nexon pushed up the shares of Nexon GT, an affiliate, during the trading session on Wednesday.

Nexon GT stock soared as high as 15,950 won ($14.14), up 18 percent from the previous day’s closing, but retreated to close at 13,600 won.

The report said that the tech conglomerate has received a letter of Information Memorandum, a package of documents created for prospective buyers, from Nexon and may consider taking over Korea’s top game developer. Nexon is currently traded on Japan’s stock market.

A spokesperson from Samsung Electronics, however, denied the report.

“The report [that Samsung is interested in buying Nexon] appears not true because I have heard nothing about the issue,” said a spokesperson from Samsung Electronics over the phone.

The suspicions came after a report earlier this month that Kim Jung-ju, chairman of NXC, the de facto holding company of Nexon, will sell a 98.64 percent stake in NXC worth around 8 trillion won. NXC owns a 47.98 percent stake in Nexon, worth about 6 trillion won.

The shares include Kim’s holdings, at 67.49 percent, and those held by his wife, at 29.43 percent, as well as 1.72 percent held by Wise Kids, a software company Kim owns.

Given the massive size of the sale, local media reports suspect that the potential buyer could be China’s Tencent Holdings or U.S. video game publisher Electronic Arts. The report Wednesday also cited Tencent as receiving the letter from Nexon.

Tencent already stands as the sole local publishing partner in China for Dungeon Fighter Online, a multiplayer video game developed by Nexon subsidiary Neople. The Chinese internet giant holds sizable stakes in Korea’s major game and entertainment units, including Netmarble and Kakao.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]