Krafton Inc, the company behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, one of the biggest blockbusters of the gaming industry, is set to go public next month. When it does, founder Chang Byung-gyu could be worth as much as $3.5 billion if the IPO is priced at the top end of the given range. Krafton is seeking to raise as much as $4.9 billion in what is expected to be South Korea’s largest ever IPO. Chang Byung-gyu will hold 14 per cent of the shares after the IPO.
Chang’s wife, CEO Kim Chang-han and Tencent Holdings are the other parties to benefit from the IPO.
CEO Kim Chang-han’s stake could be worth as much as $336 million, as mentioned in a report in Bloomberg. Chung Seung-hye, the founder’s wife could be valued at as much as $206 million, while Tencent’s 13 per cent stake could be worth as much as $3.3 billion.
Krafton’s IPO comes months after Seoul-based e-commerce company Coupang Inc raised $4.6 billion, the most raised by a South Korean company. The IPO helped founder Bom Kim amass a fortune of $6.9 billion.
Chang, who is likely to join the ranks of Kim after the IPO, pledged to donate stocks worth as much as 100 billion won to Krafton employees as a token of appreciation. South Korea has a long history of billionaires who come from family-controlled conglomerates. But Chang is amid the new generation of self-made moguls, who also tend to give away large parts of their wealth.
Leader Index’s Park told Bloomberg, “These entrepreneurs who have built their businesses from scratch tend to relate more to inequality issues. They’ve also suffered to get where they are.” Internet company Kakao’s Chairman Kim Beom-soo and founder of food-delivery app Woowa Brothers Corp Kim Bong-jin both signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge initiative this year.
Chang had started his own business in 1997 but that was halted when he enlisted for military service. He then sold the business to Naver Corp and set up a venture capital firm with the proceeds. Change bought several gaming studios, including one founded by Krafton’s current CEO Kim Chang-han. Kim then pitched an idea for a battle royal game.