By Joyce Lee
SEOUL, April 8 (Reuters) - South Korea's Krafton Inc, the video game holding company that publishes the blockbuster game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), has applied for preliminary approval for an initial public offering (IPO), Korea Exchange said on Thursday.
The IPO is expected to be one of the biggest Korean listings this year, Seoul-based analysts said, with over-the-counter trades on Thursday valuing Krafton at around 20 trillion won ($17.92 billion).
Krafton founder Chang Byung-gyu is the largest shareholder with a 16.4% stake as of end-2020, followed by China's Tencent 0700.HK holding a 15.5% stake through an investment company. Small shareholders with less than 1% stake individually held a combined 23.2% of Krafton, according to a company filing.
PUBG is one of the highest-grossing video games of all time, with up to 55 million daily users excluding China on weekends and 70 million copies of the game sold for PC and game consoles, Krafton said. Upcoming new mobile game “PUBG: New State“ gained more than 5 million pre-registrations within a week, Krafton said in March.