Category Archives: Acquisition
Nexon Co. Ltd. announced recently that it has acquired all outstanding shares of South Korean studio THINGSOFT, the developer of highly anticipated upcoming Project NT (information on game in links below). This acquisition is being made through Nexon’s wholly-owned subsidiary Neople, developer of Dungeon Fighter Online and Cyphers.
Founded in 2010, THINGSOFT has established a strong track record of developing AAA-quality immersive free-to-play (“F2P”) online games. The founders of THINGSOFT have a successful track record of collaboration, and have been involved in the development of such hit PC titles as FIFA Online 1, as well as its successful sequel FIFA Online 2. THINGSOFT is developing several new titles, including Sangokushi Sousouden Online and the much-anticipated Project NT, which is expected to launch in 2014.
“THINGSOFT has a wealth of experience in the F2P business, and a successful track record of developing AAA content,” said Seungwoo Choi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexon Co., Ltd. “Building on our history of successful collaboration together, this transaction leverages the strengths of both companies by providing access to THINGSOFT’s developmental capabilities and an exciting pipeline of new titles, and Nexon’s scale and global distribution platform. We look forward to working with the talented THINGSOFT team to deliver a robust portfolio of titles to even more players around the world and across platforms.”
THINGSOFT is led by first-generation game developer Sangwon Chung, who serves as CEO and Executive Producer. With over 15 years of game development experience, Chung was previously the Senior Vice President of Game Development at Neowiz Games. “We are thrilled to join the Nexon family,” said Sangwon Chung, CEO and Executive Producer for THINGSOFT. “This transaction is the natural next step for THINGSOFT as we seek to bring our games to more players and different platforms. As the free-to-play pioneer with global reach and scale, Nexon is the perfect partner to help us do that and we look forward to the benefits of being a part of an even larger organization.”
Sangwon Chung, founder of THINGSOFT, previously worked with Nexon in the 1990s and led the development of ground breaking online games such as The Kingdom of the Winds (Nexus TK) and Tactical Commanders, respectively the world’s first graphic MMORPG (1996) and the world’s first real-time strategy (RTS) MMO (2001).
Nexon has entered into a strategic partnership with Shiver Entertainment, a Miami-based studio founded by former Zynga Chief Operating Officer John Schappert.
This partnership includes Nexon investing an undisclosed sum of money into Shiver Entertainment as well as Nexon securing exclusive global publishing rights to Shiver’s PC and mobile titles which may be developed. Nexon’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Owen Manhoney, will sit on Shiver Entertainment’s board of directors.
“John is one of the world’s most respected developers and has been responsible for building some of the industry’s most fun and financially successful franchises,” said Mahoney. “This announcement represents another significant milestone in our strategy to build our business in key Western markets by working with world-class developers and bringing our unmatched free-to-play online expertise to global markets. We look forward to leveraging the strengths of both companies to develop new, successful franchises loved by players around the world.”
Shiver Entertainment was founded in December 2012 by John Schappert. With a career spanning more than 20 years in the games industry – during which he has served in roles from software engineer, programming Super NES games, to operating executive – Schappert is widely regarded as an industry superstar. In his most recent role as COO of Zynga, Schappert was responsible for overseeing product development and the company’s daily operations, including Zynga’s game studios, mobile division and administrative functions. Previously, he served as COO of Electronic Arts, where he was responsible for the operating plan, global retail and digital distribution, retail marketing, global technology and EA Interactive (EA’s mobile, social and casual division). Earlier in his career, Schappert was Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s LIVE Software and Services division, managing the Xbox LIVE business and Microsoft Game Studios. Schappert has overseen the creation of numerous successful franchises, including FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed and Madden NFL.
“Nexon has an extraordinary track record of successfully partnering with a select few of the best game developers in the world, and we are proud to partner with them,” said John Schappert, Founder and CEO of Shiver Entertainment. “Shiver Entertainment is focused on creating the world’s best free-to-play games and by working together, we combine Nexon’s expertise in online free-to-play games and global publishing capability with our AAA Western-oriented games. It’s a perfect match and we are very excited about our bright future together.”
Nexon Co. Ltd. has announced “strategic” investments into two American gaming companies. Those two companies are social strategy game startup SecretNewCo, based in Maryland, and the Redwood City, California-based multiplatform developer Rumble Entertainment. Nexon will become a minority stakeholder in both companies.
Nexon Co. Ltd., the global giant in online games, has announced that it has acquired all outstanding common shares of Tokyo-based mobile games developer Gloops for US$468.4 million. The transaction was closed today as was unanimously supported by the boards of both companies.
Gloops is very well known in Japan for its mobile games such as Three Kingdoms Guild Battle and Japan Pro Baseball Card Battle. Last month the company announced a partnership with DeNA in order to work on an international expansion targeting North America and Europe. The company has plans to launch five titles in North America and Europe in 2012 and another five in 2013, and one title each on the Mobage platform in China and Korea.
“This acquisition significantly accelerates Nexon’s mobile strategy, giving us immediate exposure to Japan’s large and fast growing mobile market,” said Seungwoo Choi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexon, in a statement. “gloops has established itself as one of the premier mobile game developers in the world and a key player in one of our most important growth areas, with a robust portfolio of hit titles and a strong track record of driving market innovation. We look forward to leveraging gloops’ outstanding capabilities and scale to expand the Nexon game experience to users on mobile platforms worldwide.”
“We are thrilled to become a part of the Nexon family,” said Shinsuke Kawakata, President of gloops, in a statement. “Providing compelling games for mobile users has always been our passion, and we look forward to being a part of an even larger organization as we work to continue bringing new and exciting titles to a growing base of players around the world.”
Nexon is once again back on an acquisition drive, but this year it seems the company is targeting bigger and more established companies to buy into. Last month Nexon completed a controversial acquisition of 34.6% of the shares of Taiwanese gaming giant Gamania and earlier this year an acquisition of 22.34% of JCE, becoming the leading shareholder in both companies. But today South Korea gaming was shaken up big time as the country’s largest game publisher by revenue Nexon Co. Ltd. became the largest shareholder in the fourth largest game publisher NCSoft Corp.
The deal was secured as Nexon gobbled up 3.2 million of NCSoft’s shares in a purchase totalling $685 million (804.5 billion KRW; 54.3 billion JPY).
This transaction brings together NCsoft’s strong pipeline of compelling IP and Nexon’s leading international publishing platform and expertise in the operation of free-to-play online games. This investment forms the basis of a long-term partnership, enabling both companies to leverage their strengths to facilitate attractive commercial opportunities. By creating this strategic relationship, both Nexon and NCsoft strengthen their commitment to deliver unrivaled gaming experiences to users around the world.
In the 2011 financial year Nexon reported revenues of $1.2 billion (1.27 trillion KRW; 87.6 billion JPY) while NCSoft reported revenues of $518 million (608.8 billion KRW; 41.1 billion JPY).
Taiwan’s Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is investigating the takeover bid and, depending on the results of the investigation, the FTC may fine Nexon up to NT$25 million ($830,000) and nullify the takeover.
Based on Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act, any takeover involving a company with more than a quarter of market share must be filed to the FTC in advance. Nexon, however, failed to do so.
Nexon is claiming the the market of which Gamania is a part is the digital content market which includes digital games and DVDs. If Gamania is classified in this market then it will not have over a quarter of market share and Nexon did not have to report to the FTC in the first place. However, the FTC is not taking Nexon’s word for it and will conduct investigations into whether Gamania fits into this category or into the category of online gaming, in which case Gamania does have over a quarter of market share.
Taiwan’s Economic Minister, Shih Yen-shiang, said that the Taiwanese government will support Gamania in its position that it will corporate with others but does not welcome any hostile takeover attempts.
And the saga continues on the next episode of Nexon’s Attempted Acquisition of Gamania.