It looks like Nexon won’t be changing hands after all. After months of bidding and negotiations involving (and not involving) some of the biggest entertainment companies on the planet, Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju won’t be selling his controlling share of the company after all, the Korea Economic Daily reports.
The sale was called off because the interested parties “failed to narrow the valuation gap with financial investors in the lack of strategic bidders.” In other words, nobody could raise the money that Kim wanted, said to be in the vicinity of 10 trillion South Korean won, or about $9 billion. Kakao, makers of Black Desert Online, as well as Tencent and Netmarble, were among the prospective buyers.
Various private equity firms were also interested, but The Korea Times reported earlier this week that Kim was hesitant to sell NXC Corp — the holding company that controls nearly half of Nexon — because “a private equity fund might not be the right buyer because such a deal might result in large-scale restructuring.”
The cancelled sale saw Nexon’s stock price drop 5%, Bloomberg reported, and it doesn’t look like the company will be changing hands any time soon. The Korea Economic Daily quoted one unnamed source as saying that
“We can’t rule out the possibility that NXC would be put up for sale again, but it seems unlikely to happen for some time.”