SEOUL, March 25 (Korea Bizwire) – Netmarble Games, South Korea’s No. 1 mobile game developer and publisher, is expected to seek listing on the country’s main bourse instead of on the tech-heavy KOSDAQ or overseas, sources said Friday.
The company’s market capitalization is estimated at approximately 10 trillion won (US$8.57 billion), putting it nearly on par with LG Electronics ranked currently at 26th.
Netmarble on Thursday picked four underwriters for its initial public offering (IPO) — JP Morgan, Citi Group Global Markets Securities, NH Investment & Securities and Korea Investment & Securities Co. — and is expected to convene a meeting soon to discuss listing details in Seoul, according to the sources at investment banks and in the IT industry.
Company CEO Bang Joon-hyuk, when announcing IPO plans on Feb. 18, had left options open on where the company would list, saying that while a local listing would have its own meaning, getting on the NASDAQ would help the firm grow into a global brand.
“Netmarble has internally decided to seek listing on the local bourse,” one of the sources said. “Given the scale of the company, the likelihood is that it will be the main bourse rather than the KOSDAQ.”
The company is expected to request an IPO review with the Korea Exchange as early as in May and no later than September. Bang has said the funds created from the listing would be used for mergers and acquisitions, global marketing and future investments.’
Haitai Confectionery & Foods Co., meanwhile, the third largest in the industry by market share, on Thursday was approved for listing on the main bourse. It will be a return for the company whose parent firm was delisted in 2001 from a liquidity crisis.
The company reclaimed glory in 2014 with its “honey butter chip,” which changed the traditional notion of salty potato chips by adding honey to the taste. It recorded 788.4 billion won in sales for an operating profit of 47.1 billion won in 2015.