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A boy plays Tencent Holdings' PUBG videogame on his mobile phone. (REUTERS)
A boy plays Tencent Holdings' PUBG videogame on his mobile phone. (REUTERS)

PUBG creator Krafton hires bankers for possible record IPO

  • Krafton is backed by China gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., which became the second-largest holder in 2018, when the company was known as Bluehole
  • The company plans to accelerate its stock offering plans and has also hired Credit Suisse Group AG, Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co

Krafton Inc., the company behind the hit mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, said it hired Mirae Asset Daewoo to lead an initial public offering planned for next year, in what could be South Korea’s largest ever debut.

The company plans to accelerate its stock offering plans and has also hired Credit Suisse Group AG, Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the company said. The country’s Kakao Games Corp. went public last month and more than tripled in its first two days of trading.

Krafton could be valued at about $26 billion, based on the multiples for fellow Korean game makers Netmarble Corp. and NCSoft Corp., according to local media reports. That would make Krafton one of South Korea’s largest companies.

About $9 billion in stock may be sold in the sale, Maeil Business Newspaper reported. The country’s largest IPO to date was the $6 billion debut of KT Corp. in 1998, followed by Samsung Life Insurance Co.’s $4.3 billion share sale in 2010.

Krafton is backed by China gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., which became the second-largest holder in 2018, when the company was known as Bluehole. Tencent held a 13.2% stake as of June 30, according to a regulatory filing. Co-founder Chang Byung-gyu owns the largest stake, controlling 41% when including shares held by his wife and other executives.

PUBG, as the studio’s biggest hit is known, is one of the pioneers of the “battle royale" format of online multiplayer games, popularized in recent years by titles such as Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite.

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