‘PUBG’ Maker Krafton Fails to Meet Expectations with $3.8B IPO

    • Krafton Inc. failed to level up during its $3.8 billion IPO.
    • The IPO was South Korea's worst in 17 years.

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Video game holding company Krafton stumbled during its $3.8 billion initial public offering, which was South Korea’s biggest in more than a decade.

Shares of Krafton fell as much as 20% during its trading debut Tuesday after opening down 9.9% — the country’s worst IPO performance in 17 years. 

The Tencent-backed company planned to raise at least $5 billion in June by selling 20% of its shares, valuing the company at $25 billion. 

Following its market debut, the company closed with a valuation of around $19 billion. 

Krafton has made a name for itself as the developer of online battle royale gaming hit “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” often referred to as “PUBG.”

  • The game’s revenue reached $920 million in 2018, up from $220 million in 2017, when it first released.
  • $790 million of 2018’s total revenue came from PC players.
  • “PUBG Mobile” was the top mobile game in 2020 with $2.6 billion in revenue.

Shares of Krafton closed on Wednesday at $351 per share, down from its IPO price of $430.

Another factor in the poor showing: Regulators in the massive Chinese market are punishing video game companies for neither relinquishing exclusive rights nor reporting details of investments.

Still, Krafton is developing a “PUBG” sequel. The upcoming title has more than 25 million pre-registrations on the Google Play store. App Store registration opens at the end of August.