SEOUL : South Korea's mobile games maker Netmarble went public in Seoul Friday as it seeks overseas acquisitions, with the firm valued at around $12 billion.

Netmarble's Lineage 2 is a hugely popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games  [MMORPG] with a medieval setting.

The firm's shares closed at 162,000 won about [US$ 143] on the Korea Stock Exchange giving it a market capitalisation of 13.7 trillion won [$12.1 billion], well ahead of rival games publisher NCSoft Corp, which is valued at 7.7 trillion won.

Netmarble sold 20 percent of its shares in the floatation and said earlier that it would use up to 1.68 trillion won of the proceeds for mergers and acquisitions.

Netmarbles IPO is the new beginning and the company will make an effort to become a global game company,'' CEO Kwon Young-sig told reporters on Friday. With borrowings, the firm could have a warchest of as much five trillion won, he said, adding ;

''If there are any developers that could produce synergy with Netmarble, we will pursue mergers and acquisitions actively.''

Netmarble plans to launch its hit game ''Lineage 2 Revolution'' in China in the fourth quarter of this year.

In a bid to expand its presence in the North American Market, Netmarble in February completed the acquisition of Kabam's Vancouver studio in a deal estimated to be worth around $700 - 800 million [AFP]


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