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NXC CEO pulls plug on Nexon sale, for now

What was once deemed to be the biggest deal in the industry -- the sale of Nexon, Korea’s biggest game company by revenue -- reportedly came to a sputter, Wednesday.

Kim Jung-ju, the CEO of Nexon’s holding company, NXC, reportedly put the brakes on the sale of his and his wife’s 98.64 percent controlling stake in NXC due to unsatisfactory offers from bidders, the Korea Economic Daily reported.

Nexon Korea was unable to comment on the matter.


NXC owns 47.98 percent of shares in Nexon Japan, which wholly owns Nexon Korea.

Kim’s decision to sell his NXC shares early this year sparked rumors that the bidders might include China’s Tencent and The Walt Disney Co., an entertainment company based in the US. Eventually five bidders were confirmed: Kakao, Netmarble, MBK Partners, KKR and Bain Capital.

Investment banks UBS and Deutsche Bank will reportedly alert the five bidders of Kim’s decision.

The Nexon founder and chairman was said to have expected offers between 15 trillion won ($13 billion) and 20 trillion won, taking into consideration Nexon Japan’s stock price. When Kim first floated the plan to sell NXC, Nexon Japan stock was worth around 1,900 yen per share.

Nexon Japan, listed on the Tokyo bourse, traded at 1,530 yen on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., down 2.17 percent from a day earlier.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (