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Krafton aims to expand globally via W4.31tr IPO

From left: Krafton Chief Financial Officer Bae Dong-keun, CEO Kim Chang-han and Chairman Chang Byung-gyu speak at an online briefing with reporters Monday. (Krafton)
From left: Krafton Chief Financial Officer Bae Dong-keun, CEO Kim Chang-han and Chairman Chang Byung-gyu speak at an online briefing with reporters Monday. (Krafton)
Krafton, the South Korean game maker behind global smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, said Monday that it looks to expand its foothold in the global market through its market debut on the nation’s main board Kospi early next month.

“Our goal is to attain a leadership position preemptively in high-growth emerging markets such as India and the Middle East. Krafton’s strategy (for the goal) is expanding content to nongaming media and platforms by utilizing our intellectual property rights that have been secured from games,” Kim Chang-han, CEO of Krafton, told reporters during an online press briefing.

Founded in 2007, the gaming giant has targeted global markets with its intellectual property rights based on various games such as hit shooting game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The company further took a leap forward to become a global technology firm by making an entry to new business sectors such as deep learning technology and entertainment, Kim explained.

As a flood of blockbuster IPO deals have been readying themselves this summer, the game maker’s chairman highlighted that the firm has enough market competitiveness that its upcoming listing provides “unique opportunities” for small domestic investors to enter the global gaming market.

“If Samsung Electronics targeted only the local market, its market capitalization could not reach this far. ... During our (IPO) roadshow, some foreign institutional investors even told us that they started paying attention to the Korean market because of our company,” Krafton’s Chairman Chang Byung-gyu said.

Krafton aims to make its market debut on Aug. 10 by raising up to 4.31 trillion won ($3.74 billion) through the IPO. It plans to offer around 8.64 million new common shares in the price range of 400,000-498,000 won. The exact share price will be fixed after the book-building process, which is set to wrap up Tuesday. The two-day retail tranche is scheduled to be held Aug. 2-3, while Mirae Asset Securities is the lead underwriter of the deal.

“About 70 percent of the funds secured from the IPO will be used for global mergers and acquisitions. The remaining 30 percent will be used to invest in new markets, including India, the Middle East and North Africa to spread our influence, as well as supplementing high performance equipment,” Krafton’s Chief Financial Officer Bae Dong-keun said.

While the company’s market capitalization after listing is anticipated to reach 24.35 trillion won, the game developer had faced criticism from both financial authorities and some market watchers of its valuation being “overrated.” It was likely to become the largest market debut here, but it reduced the target price band and number of new shares to issue.

Regarding the overvaluation concern, Bae said it is “understandable” due to various types of market participants with diverse investment perspectives. At the same time, the chief financial officer noted that Krafton has much potential in a long-term view.

“Based on originality, constant challenge spirit and technical skills, Krafton will present the game’s infinite extensibility. We will further solidify our presence as a peerless global gaming firm through the upcoming Kospi listing,” the CEO said.

By Jie Ye-eun (
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Korea Herald daum