"We continue to believe that North America is a big, big opportunity
for us," Mahoney said in an interview with Reuters late on Wednesday
ahead of the company's announcement that he would succeed current
Chief Executive Officer Seungwoo Choi in March.
Mahoney, currently Nexon's chief financial officer, led mergers and
acquisitions and business development at Electronic Arts Inc for
about a decade before joining Nexon, which is known for free-to-play
PC games like combat title "Dungeon&Fighter" and "MapleStory."
He said Nexon would be open to using its cash balance to acquire
games that would help it build a strong footprint in the West.
"We want more access to IP and want to be more successful in the
West with the kinds of games that will resonate with Western
tastes," Mahoney said. "But we're also prudent about what we do, so
if we see a good opportunity we'll definitely go after it."
Nexon, which was founded in South Korea in 1994 and is headquartered
in Tokyo, went public on the Tokyo stock exchange in December 2011,
around the same time as "Farmville" creator Zynga Inc listed on
The company is considered to be a pioneer of the model of fast-paced
games that are free to play but offer optional virtual goods or
in-game purchases like weapons and energy boosts.
While Nexon has delivered numerous PC and mobile game hits in China
and South Korea, it's been unsuccessful so far in replicating that
success in the fast-growing European and U.S. markets.
The company, which said it generated $1.5 billion in revenue in
2013, has taken minority stakes in North American game studios in
North America like San Mateo, California-based Rumble Entertainment
and Miami-based Shiver Entertainment, to develop content for the
[to top of second column]
Nexon also has been importing Western content to Asia through
partnerships with developers like Electronic Arts to publish its
"FIFA Online 3" game in Korea.
Mahoney, who joined Nexon in 2010, will take on his new role
starting March 25. Choi, who decided to retire after leading the
company since 2008, will remain in an advisory role as honorary
On Wednesday, Nexon reported higher fourth-quarter revenue of 34.5
billion yen ($336.47 million), up 12 percent from a year ago. Nexon
also reported a fourth-quarter cash balance of 138.8 billion yen.
It incurred a net loss of 4.44 billion yen, partly due to an
impairment loss from lower-than-expected revenue from a game by its
subsidiary, NDOORS Corp. About 7 percent of its total fourth-quarter
income came from Europe and North America.
Shares in the company fell 5.2 percent to close at 837 yen on
Thursday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
($1 = 102.5350 Japanese yen)
(Editing by Matt Driskill and Paul Simao)
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