A screenshot of "Aion," an online multi-player game developed… (NCsoft )
Nexon, a Japanese game company, has purchased a 14.7% stake in the Korean online game firm NCsoft for $687 million.
The strategic investment bonds two of Asia's largest companies operating in the online game market.
Nexon, whose U.S. offices are in El Segundo, publishes free online games that make money by selling virtual items used within the games. Last year, Nexon notched $342.4 million in profit from $1.1 billion in sales.
Though Nexon has operated in the U.S. since 2005, the lion's share of its revenue has come from Korea, Japan and China. Its games, which include "MapleStory," "Dungeon Fighter Online" and "KartRider," garnered 82.8 million monthly players as of March 31.
NCsoft, whose most well-known titles include "Lineage" and "Aion," was founded in 1998 by Taek Jin Kim, the company's chief executive. The company has offices in Seattle, but is based in Seoul, Korea.
The transaction calls for Nexon to purchase 3.2 million NCsoft shares from Kim's private holdings. It is unclear what percentage of NCsoft Kim continues to own following the sale.
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