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South Korea’s Krafton plunges in Seoul stock market debut

Written by Nikkei Asia Published on     2 mins read

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Developer behind ‘PUBG’ still becomes biggest listed gaming company.

Shares in South Korean game developer Krafton plunged on Tuesday, marking a disappointing market debut for the developer of worldwide hit “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” or PUBG.

Krafton’s stock declined 9.9% at the open from its initial public offering price of KRW 498,000 (USD 434) per share. It dropped to as low as KRW 400,500 but later rebounded to as high as KRW 480,000. It is at KRW 449,000 as of 9:18 a.m.

Despite the lackluster start, the company still became the No. 1 game company on the benchmark Kospi exchange with a market value of KRW 21.6 trillion, surpassing rivals NCSoft and Netmarble. Nexon, another major game developer, is listed in Tokyo.

The performance also makes Krafton the Kospi’s 21st largest component.

Krafton had raised KRW 4.3 trillion in its initial public offering, the second-highest figure on the Kospi, lagging only the KRW 4.9 trillion raked in by Samsung Life Insurance in 2010.

The market debut came after South Korea’s financial regulator in June demanded that the company correct its IPO prospectus on questions over its valuation. Krafton later cut the IPO price target by more than 10%, yielding to Financial Supervisory Service pressure.

Krafton said last month that long-term investors, including foreign pension funds, participated in the company’s book-building, or price-setting, process, expressing interest in its leadership in the battle royale game genre.

The company has said it will use 70% of the IPO proceeds to buy gaming intellectual property, as well as on mergers and acquisitions of global game development studios. It will invest the remainder in expanding its presence in emerging markets such as India, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Founder and chairman Chang Byung-gyu established Krafton with a vision to make it a global powerhouse in the massive multiplayer online role-playing genre, known as MMORPG. The company became a leading player in 2017 as its new game PUBG became a global sensation.

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asia. It’s republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei.

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