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Nexon invests $400m in Avengers directors’ production company

Korean game developer looks to expand its intellectual property in TV and film on the global stage

Company logos of Nexon and AGBO (Nexon)
Company logos of Nexon and AGBO (Nexon)
Korean gaming giant Nexon said Thursday it has decided to invest $400 million into US production company Agbo, co-founded by Anthony and Joe Russo, the directors of Marvel’s global megahits.

Through the latest investment, the Tokyo-listed Nexon plans to accelerate the global expansion of its existing and new intellectual property in the film and TV sectors, while Agbo looks to further boost its influence in the global entertainment market by strengthening its production power.

Valued at approximately $1.1 billion, AGBO was co-founded by Anthony and Joe Russo, the directors of Marvel’s blockbuster films “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” and producer Mike Larocca.

Nexon will secure at least a 38 percent stake in Agbo along with two board seats, becoming its biggest individual shareholder. The firm said it has also committed to injecting an additional $100 million in the first half of this year if requested by Agbo.

“The ability to create and sustain blockbuster entertainment franchises across multiple markets for decades is deep in Nexon’s DNA,” said Owen Mahoney, president and CEO of Nexon.

“AGBO and Nexon share a fundamental vision for thrilling global audiences with content that spans multiple platforms and markets.”

The Russo brothers said, “AGBO’s partnership with Nexon represents a significant juncture for entertainment, furthering the convergence of franchise filmmaking and games with a global reach. Our collaboration is based on our shared vision of the future of storytelling and utilizes the unique talents of both companies.”

Nexon’s president of film and television and chief strategy officer, Nick van Dyk, whose team led the transaction, as well as Nexon’s film and television Senior Vice President Tim Connors, will join the Russo brothers and Agbo CEO Jason Bergsman on the board of Agbo.

As one of the largest game companies in the world, Nexon operates popular franchises of Dungeon & Fighter, MapleStory and KartRider. In 2020, Nexon became the first Korean game-maker to see its annual sales hitting over 3 trillion won ($2.49 billion).

Established in 2017, Agbo has produced a number of film and television projects for streaming and theatrical distribution, including “Extraction,” the third most-watched movie on Netflix. The production company is based in Los Angeles.

“Film and television have been proven to drive higher engagement and longevity for game franchises, and we are now partnered with the best creators and adapters of franchise IP in film and television,” said van Dyk.

“We are thrilled to work with AGBO to design universes that, from the outset, are intended to coexist across games, film, TV, merchandising, and other experiences.”

Bergsman said, “This investment will provide AGBO with new resources to innovate and pursue growth as a uniquely creator-led, independent entertainment company. As we look to extend the reach of our storytelling, Nexon’s best-in-class games capabilities, pioneering work in creating online virtual worlds, and global footprint make them an ideal strategic partner.”

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)
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