Five Korean companies are competing to acquire NXC Corp., the holding company of Nexon Group that owns Nexon Co., the largest gaming company in Korea.
The final bidders are Kakao Corp., Netmarble, MBK Partners, KKR and Bain Capital. Up for sale in the tender, which was closed in the United States on May 31 (local time), is a 98.64 percent stake in NXC Corp. held by NXC chairman Kim Jung-joo and people with special ties with him.
Notably, China’s Tencent, which was said to be interested in acquiring the game company, did not participate in the tender. Yet the Chinese company may exercise its influence on the deal as it is a major shareholder of Kakao and Netmarble, the two strong candidates in the takeover race.
Bidders were originally required to submit final bids in April, but the day of tender was delayed to May 15, and then again to May 24. Final tenders were actually submitted on May 31 as one of the potential candidates asked for a delay of the tender day.
As the total acquisition price of the stake is expected to exceed 10 trillion won, it is highly likely that a strategic investor will join hands with a private equity fund to finance the deal.
Nobody knows why Tencent did not take part in the bid. However, as Tencent is the second-largest shareholder of Kakao and the third largest shareholder of Netmarble, it can indirectly influence Nexon's important management agenda if either of the two companies becomes the owner of the gaming group.