By Yoon Sung-won
Netmarble Games is considering increasing the scale of its initial public offering (IPO) to 3 trillion won, up from 2 trillion won, on escalated market expectations, according to the industry Wednesday.
Should this be realized, the IPO of Korea's top mobile game firm will become the second-largest of all time, surpassing Samsung BioLogics. The biomedicine affiliate of Samsung Group drew about 2.25 trillion won in its IPO last year.
"Netmarble Games is reviewing a plan to expand the scale of its public offering amid high market expectations on its future growth," an industry source said.
The company is in discussions with lead manager NH Investment & Securities and the Financial Supervisory Service, according to the source.
Netmarble Games is planning its IPO in May as the first major public offering of the year.
Market observers expect that the company will be able to post over 3.1 trillion won in sales this year, up from 1.5 trillion won last year. Its operating profit in 2017 is projected to reach 920 billion won, jumping from 295.4 billion won last year.
Market cap expectations have also increased accordingly. On Feb. 21, BNK Investment & Securities said Netmarble Games' market cap will reach 15.3 trillion won. The previous projection by KTB Investment & Securities in early February was 14 trillion won. This is the largest scale in Korea's internet service and game industries, except for Naver.
Market expectations are high over the company's profitability. Its mobile game "Lineage 2: Revolution" has generated 206 billion won in sales in its first month. As the company plans to release more blockbuster mobile games based on NCSOFT's game intellectual properties other than the "Lineage" series, the expansion of the IPO has been considered viable, according to the source.
Netmarble Games' aggressive drive for global expansion has also fueled the market expectations. Its global sales reached 51 percent of the company's total sales last year, surpassing domestic sales for the first time.
"Netmarble's goal for 2017 is to globalize our role-playing games," Netmarble Games chief decision-maker Bang Jun-hyuk said during a press conference in January. "We will enter the global market head-on with the type of game that we make best."
Netmarble Games completed acquisition of U.S. game company Kabam Vancouver Studio for about 900 billion won as of Feb. 24. Thanks to this acquisition, the company will be able to globally release mobile games based on the "Marvel" superheroes and the "Transformers" series, which are popular in the North American market.