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Netmarble to raise $2.4 billion with an IPO

Around $1.3 billion will be used for deals and acquisitions as Korean publisher strides towards global top five

Netmarble will raise as much as $2.4 billion through an IPO, the South Korean company said today.

That figure, which is at the top end of Netmarble's share price range, would make its IPO the second biggest in the country's history. According to Bloomberg, the KRW 2.7 trillion ($2.4 billion) would still be a long way behind Samsung Life Insurance Co., which raised KRW 4.9 trillion in 2010.

Netmarble's regulatory filing said it would sell 17 million shares at between KRW 121,000 and KRW 157,000 each, with the final price to be set on April 24. If successful, NetMarble's IPO would put the company's value at KRW 13.3 trillion ($11.6 billion).

The money will be used, in part, to pay down debts amounting to KRW 897 billion, the filing said. Around KRW 1 trillion ($894 million) will be used for deals and investments, as Netmarble builds towards a stated goal of being in the top five global gaming companies by 2020. And that isn't an impossible goal, given the KRW 1.5 trillion ($1.3 billion) in revenue it earned in 2016 - a 5x improvement in just two years, Reuters said - and a total headcount of more than 3,500 people worldwide.

Netmarble is already a huge success, then, but chiefly in Korea and other Asian markets. Lineage 2: Revolution, for example, which launched in December 2016, earned KRW 200 billion (around $180 million) in sales in its first month, and it has yet to receive a global launch.

Instead, the company's global ambitions have largely been evident through investments and acquisitions. In July 2015 it invested $130 million in Jam City, then called SGN, and in December 2016 it bought Kabam's Vancouver studio in a deal thought to be worth around $800 million.

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