South Korea's Krafton to launch $5 billion plus IPO next week, sources say

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Players are pictured as they attend the PUBG Global Invitational 2018, the first official esports tournament for the computer game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in Berlin

By Scott Murdoch and Heekyong Yang

HONG KONG/SEOUL (Reuters) - Krafton, the company behind blockbuster video game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), will launch its IPO early next week in what could be South Korea's largest listing in 11 years, people familiar with the matter said.

The Tencent-backed company aims to raise at least $5 billion in the initial public offering (IPO) by selling 20% of its shares, one said after the Korea Exchange announced that Krafton had preliminary approval for its planned listing.

Official filings to start the IPO will be made early next week, three people who did not want to be identified as they were authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters.

South Korea is experiencing its hottest IPO market on record and analysts expect that least 20 trillion won ($18.4 billion) will be raised in 2021, which would be about four times above 2020 levels.

Krafton would be valued at around $25 billion based on its current plans, although the final size of the IPO could increase, another person added.

In a statement, Krafton said that it could not comment on details of the IPO before it lodges a regulatory filing.

At $5 billion-plus, Krafton would become the biggest IPO in South Korea since the 4.9 trillion won ($4.4 billion) float of Samsung Life Insurance in 2010, exchange data shows.

The price at which shares will be offered, and therefore Krafton's value, will be decided once the process is finalised which, under the South Korean system, can take several weeks.

Battery maker LG Energy Solution said on Tuesday it had applied for preliminary approval of a local IPO that reportedly could raise $10 to $12 billion

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Heekyong Yang in Seoul; Editing by Alex Richardson, Anshuman Daga and Alexander Smith)