Tue, May 15, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Gamania vows to fight acquisition by S Korean company

By George Liao  /  Staff Reporter

Online game publisher Gamania Digital Entertainment Co (遊戲橘子) said yesterday it would maintain its management independence and fight an attempted acquisition by a stronger South Korean rival.

The company made the statement in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange after local media reported that Nexon Co had been buying up stock in the Taiwanese firm, increasing its shareholding to 33 percent of the company in less than one-and-a-half years, from nearly 20 percent.

“The company welcomes any form of investment and cooperation, but insists on maintaining independent control of the company’s management,” Gamania said in the filing.

Nexon, the largest online game company in South Korea, is currently one of Gamania’s partners, but its aggressive approach has sparked media speculation that Gamania could be bought out by the foreign online game giant.

A company media liaison, who declined to be named, said Gamania had filed a report with the Fair Trade Commission regarding Nexon’s alleged acquisition of more than 30 percent of Gamania.

“In light of current online gaming trends, it would be absolutely detrimental to the development of Taiwan’s online gaming industry if a large-scale foreign corporation was allowed to take control of the local industry’s operating channels and resources, whether the integration is horizontal or vertical,” Gamania said in a news release.

“The company will actively push for internationalization, insist on Taiwan branding, step up its research and development efforts and complete global positioning in the future,” it added.

Asked to comment on the issue, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) yesterday said on the sidelines of the legislature’s Economics Committee meeting that enterprises have their own calculations regarding acquisitions and cooperation.

However, he added that the online gaming industry is an important industry and so the government would seek to gain a better understanding of the understanding of the two sides’ intentions so as to be able to respond appropriately and assist Gamania, if necessary.

Gamania, whose shares rose 3.56 percent to end at NT$32 yesterday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, was the first Taiwanese online game brand to expand overseas. The company has offices in Japan, South Korea and China, according to its Web site.

Founded in Seoul in 1994, Nexon reported sales of 1 trillion won (US$900 million) last year, making it the first South Korean gaming company to hit that financial milestone.

additional reporting by CNA

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