Tencent Holdings Ltd, the Chinese gaming giant, is considering a bid for the holding company that controls South Korean gaming company Nexon, according to an article by Reuters.
The company is looking to enlist co-investors, and one of the sources also said private equity firms are studying options for a deal, including taking the listed company private.
Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju plans to sell a controlling 98.64 percent stake in Nexon’s holding firm NXC Corp, held by himself and related parties including his wife, the Korea Economic Daily newspaper reported this month.
The stake is worth between $7.1 billion and $8.9 billion, according to reports from Korea Economic Daily.
Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley are running the sale, sources told Reuters. The two banks declined to comment.
Tencent has picked Goldman Sachs as adviser, and other potential bidders include KKR & Co Inc, TPG Capital, Carlyle Group and MBK Partners.
Founded in 1994, Nexon has developed more than 80 live games in over 190 countries, including IP-franchise hits such as MapleStory, Dungeon & Fighter, Sudden Attack, and KartRider. Nexon bought a stake in Bitstamp in 2018 and completely took over ownership of Korbit in 2017.
Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company by revenue, owns the exclusive licence to operate Dungeon & Fighter in China.
The social media-to-payments firm, and its gaming peers, faced a crackdown from Chinese authorities, which stopped approving new titles from March amid a regulatory overhaul triggered by growing criticism of video games for being violent and leading to myopia as well as addiction among young users.
The freeze was lifted in December, when Tencent had already lost billions in its market value.