South Korea mobile gaming giant Netmarble was chosen earlier today as the preferred bidder for a 25% stake in water purifier rental firm Woongjin Coway valued at US$1.3 billion. It is the latest move by Netmarble, which holds more than 25% of South Korea’s mobile gaming market, to find new growth in non-core areas. Last year it bought 26% of Big Hit Entertainment, which manages Korean boy band, BTS, for about US$170 million.
Buying a stake in Woongjin Coway, which rents water purifiers, air purifiers and bidets in South Korea, should help generate stable cash flow, market analysts said, but some questioned the potential for further synergies. Netmarble has said it is aiming for stable growth by using its cloud computing and big data technology to make Coway a global business offering subscription services and products. If successful, this would be Netmarble’s first major deal since a US$16 billion bid to buy rival Nexon collapsed in July.