November 28, 2011 / 9:39 AM / 7 years ago

Nexon pushes ahead with IPO, hacking impact looms

TOKYO (Reuters) - Online gaming firm Nexon Co said on Monday it would raise up to 98 billion yen ($1.3 billion) in an initial public offering this month, pushing ahead with its planned listing even as a massive hacking attack threatens to dampen excitement for the stock.

Nexon, founded in South Korea in 1994 and now based in Japan, said in a statement on Monday that it had set the price range for the IPO at 1,200-1,400 yen per share, compared with a 1,360 yen tentative price announced earlier this month.

The company is due to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 14 in what is expected to be Japan’s largest IPO since drugmaker Otsuka Holdings attracted around 160 billion yen in December 2010.

The range announcement comes two days after South Korea’s communications regulator said personal information of more than 13 million subscribers of Nexon Korea’s popular Maple Story online game had been leaked.

The hacking incident will likely emerge as a negative factor during the book-building process from November 29 to Dec 2, when the company gauges investor demand, said Takashi Matsumoto, a director at Okasan Securities.

The final pre-market price will be set on December 5.

“There will likely be an increase in investors willing to subscribe at 1,200 yen rather than at 1,400 yen,” Matsumoto said, adding that investors would be worried about possible compensation claims by users whose information was leaked.

Nexon, which added a line about the hacking incident in the risk section of a revised listing filing on Monday, could not be reached for comment.

Of the 70 million new shares to be issued, half will be sold in Japan and the other half overseas.

At the upper end of the price range, Nexon would have a market value of about 596 billion yen. That would value it at 27 times last year’s earnings, which compares with online game Gree Inc at 30 times.

Nomura Securities, Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities, Goldman Sachs, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, SMBC Nikko Securities and Barclays Capital are managing the offering. ($1 = 77.6800 Japanese yen)

Reporting by Mayumi Negishi and Nathan Layne; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Michael Watson

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