Korean video game firm Krafton applies for IPO, seen worth billions of dollars

SEOUL: South Korea’s Krafton Inc, the video game holding company that publishes the blockbuster game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), has applied for preliminary approval for an initial public offering (IPO), Korea Exchange said on Thursday.

The IPO is expected to be one of the biggest Korean listings this year, Seoul-based analysts said, with over-the-counter trades on Thursday valuing Krafton at around 20 trillion won (US$17.92 billion).

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Krafton founder Chang Byung-gyu is the largest shareholder with a 16.4per cent stake as of end-2020, followed by China’s Tencent holding a 15.5per cent stake through an investment company. Small shareholders with less than 1per cent stake individually held a combined 23.2per cent of Krafton, according to a company filing.

PUBG is one of the highest-grossing video games of all time, with up to 55 million daily users excluding China on weekends and 70 million copies of the game sold for PC and game consoles, Krafton said. Upcoming new mobile game “PUBG: New State” gained more than 5 million pre-registrations within a week, Krafton said in March.

Krafton reported revenue of 1.67 trillion won and operating profit of 774 billion won in 2020, Korea Exchange said in a statement.

The main adviser for the IPO is Mirae Asset Daewoo, while other advisers are Credit Suisse, Citigroup Global Markets, Korea Investment & Securities, JP Morgan and NH Investment & Securities.

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Robust investor demand has fuelled a flurry of sizable listings in South Korea this year.

An IPO by vaccine developer SK Bioscience Co Ltd last month was the biggest in Seoul in nearly four years, while battery component developer SK IE Technology’s (SKIET) planned IPO is expected to be worth at least US$1.5 billion.

(US$1 = 1,116.3800 won)

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Additional reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by David Goodman and Kim Coghill)