Netmarble Games launched its IPO in its native South Korea last Friday, and with a market cap of USD 12.2 billion, the mobile games publisher and developer is now more valuable than NCsoft (USD 6.8 billion) and even LG Electronics (USD 11.8 billion)! Nexon is listed in Japan at a market cap of USD 8 billion. Not bad for a company started by a high-school dropout back in 2000 with 8 employees!
Often compared to Steve Jobs, Bang Jun-hyuk left Netmarble Games in 2006, before returning in 2014 to rescue the drowning company he founded. At that time, Netmarble Games was led by a CEO with no gaming background and was an organization slow to adopt new trends. It also lost the rights to publish Sudden Attack (PC online shooter), which accounted for one-third of its overall revenue.
Netmarbles Games now has several majority stakeholders, including Tencent (around 25%), CJ E&M (31%), and NCsoft (10%). Founder Bang Jun-hyuk owns a massive 24.5%, which means he is worth more than USD 3 billion now and one of Korea’s top 10 richest people(not officially in Forbes list yet). Following the successful IPO, Netmarble Game is looking to acquire more game companies this year.