The clash of the two Korean game publishing giants has come to an end. It’s been announced that Nexon (MapleStory, Dragon Nest) has sold its shares in NCSoft (Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, WildStar) which puts an end to its attempt at a hostile takeover.
Nexon bought shares in NCSoft in 2012 and became the company’s biggest shareholder. Last year, Nexon then bought more shares in order to force itself to become part of NCSoft’s management and got the Fair Trade Commission involved too. NCSoft protested Nexon’s purchases and its attempt to be part of NCSoft’s management.
It should be noted that, at this point, Nexon held 15.08 percent of NCSoft’s shares while NCSoft itself had 18.8 percent. The other shares were, of course, distributed among many other shareholders.
More recently, in January 2015, Nexon went further and started trying to place demands on NCSoft that would mean Nexon had greater control. This included wanting to propose its own candidates for NCSoft’s board of directors, demolishing two of NCSoft’s buildings in Seoul, making more ties to other companies, and making it public how much NCSoft’s unregistered executives in management were being paid.
Another part of the demands was for Nexon to receive a list of all the other NCSoft shareholders, In the end, Nexon was able to also get that list and held a meeting with them to decide what to do with NCSoft (and offering to buy their shares). It looked like Nexon had won.
However, NCSoft turned everything around all of a sudden by buying a large portion of shares in Netmarble ($345 million) as well as performing a stock swap worth roughly $635 million. This meant that if Nexon wanted to buy more shares in NCSoft and gain total control it would have to jump a much bigger financial hurdle.
This deal with Netmarble also meant that NCSoft had a way to start looking into mobile games outside of its focus on PC games up until then.
After this, there were rumors that Nexon was then trying to find investors to help it buy up NCSoft. But now, seven months after NCSoft’s deal with Netmarble, Nexon has sold its shares and moved on. What this means is, simply, that Nexon won’t have any say in what happens to NCSoft or its games.