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Tencent among shortlisted bidders for Nexon

Netmarble not invited but forms consortium with MBK partners, main bidding to begin in early April

NXC, the holding company behind Nexon, has selected five companies and invited them to bid for a majority stake in the company.

Earlier this year, founder Kim Jung-ju announced he would be selling a 98.64% stake in the company that currently belongs to him, his wife and other related parties.

Since then, numerous companies have reportedly shown interest in bidding, including Electronic Arts, Activision, Disney, Amazon and Comcast.

Now NXC has revealed the shortlist of companies that will be bidding for that stake, reports Korea Economic Daily (spotted by Reuters). Most notably among them are Tencent, the Chinese internet giant that already has stakes in various prominent games firms, and Kakao Corp, the biggest chat operator in Nexon's home market of South Korea.

Three private equity firms are also on the shortlist, including Bain Capital, MBK Partners and an unidentified firm.

A significant absence is Nexon rival Netmarble, which has made headlines over the past few months as it attempted to form a consortium of Korean firms to bid together, believing selling to an overseas company will damage the local games industry.

Tencent was reportedly supporting that consortium, but appears to have opted for a solo bid. However, Netmarble will still be able to participate in some form, as it is reported to have joined a consortium with MBK Partners.

The bidding is expected to begin in early April, after a month of due diligence, with the deal expected to be worth as much as 15 trillion won ($13.3 billion).

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