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Netmarble tried to acquire Hanssem with IMM PE Korean game publisher wanted to create synergies with its subscription business

Translated by Kim So-in 공개 2021-09-15 08:05:31

이 기사는 2021년 09월 15일 07:56 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

It turned out that South Korea’s leading online game publisher Netmarble tried to acquire Hanssem, the country's largest furniture company, as a strategic investor along with local private equity (PE) firm IMM PE.

IMM PE tapped various firms including Netmarble during a process to select its strategic investor, industry sources said on Monday. IMM PE had been in talks with South Korean conglomerates like Lotte Group, LX Hausys, Shinsegae, and KCC, and chose Lotte Shopping as its strategic partner.

Among potential investors, Netmable had showed keen interest in the deal along with LX Hausys. The game publisher has been the most active in making mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among domestic game companies. Netmarble acquired water purifier rental firm Woongjin Coway for 1.74 trillion won ($1.49 billion) last year and recently took over Hong Kong-based mobile social casino game company SpinX for 2.51 trillion won, both of which were the largest in the gaming industry at the time of the acquisition.

Netmarble attempted to acquire the country’s largest furniture company to create synergies with its subsidiary Woongjin Coway’s subscription business. Woongjin Coway is expanding its subscription business from water purifier and mattress to beauty and healthcare.

Netmarble made a bid to acquire Woongjin Coway to enter the subscription economy and smart home business. It plans to develop its smart home subscription business by combining IT technologies it acquired from its gaming business, including artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, and big data, and operational skills.

Hanssem also launched a mattress subscription service in January, with plans to offer other types of furniture in the future.

The country's retail giant Lotte Shopping is set to invest 300 billion won to acquire Hanssem together with IMM PE, which is more than enough for Netmarble to cover given its abundant cash reserves.

Netmarble took a short-term loan worth about 1.78 trillion won, about 71% of the acquisition cost, for the takeover of SpinX. But the game publisher still has abundant cash as it retrieved around 390 billion won by selling its stake in KakaoBank and is receiving more than 50 billion won in dividends every year through Woongjin Coway. Netmarble had cash and cash-equivalent assets worth 991 billion won in the first half on a consolidated basis.

Other Korean players, including SK Networks, LG Electronics, and Samsung Electronics had reportedly also considered a possible acquisition of Hanssem. (Reporting by Ha-na Suh)
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