March 17, 2017 / 6:36 AM / 5 months ago

South Korea's Netmarble Games considers up to $2.56 billion IPO - source

The logo of Netmarble Games is seen at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, March 25, 2016.Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - Netmarble Games Corp, South Korea's largest mobile gaming company, is considering an initial public offering worth up to about 2.9 trillion won (2.06 billion pounds) in what could be South Korea's second-largest listing ever, a source with direct knowledge said on Friday.

The value of the IPO, which could be about 2.2 - 2.9 trillion won, is based on an expected indicative price range of about 130,000 won to 173,000 won per share, the source said.

If the pricing is not at the bottom of the range, the listing on the KOSPI .KS11 is expected to be the second-largest ever for the bourse behind the 4.9 trillion won listing of Samsung Life Insurance (032830.KS) in 2010.

The numbers could be subject to change before a securities report is submitted to regulators, the source said. The source was not authorised to speak to media and thus declined to be identified.

A spokesman for Netmarble, which is backed by China's Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), declined to comment.

Analysts have revised up Netmarble's estimated market capitalisation to between 10 to 15 trillion won after its blockbuster mobile game "Lineage 2: Revolution" posted record sales since its December release in South Korea.

Netmarble, which is listing to raise funds for mergers and acquisitions, aims to raise its ranking in key markets to reach its goal of becoming a global top 5 game company by 2020, Netmarble founder Bang Jun-hyuk told Reuters in January.

The company received Korean exchange approval for an IPO in December 2016. JP Morgan and NH Investment & Securities are advising the IPO.

Tencent owned a 22.2 percent stake in Netmarble as of end-2016.

Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd's (207940.KS) IPO raised 2.25 trillion won in November 2016, in South Korea's second-largest ever listing.

($1 = 1,132.6200 won)

Reporting by Changho Lee; Writing by Joyce Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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