Nexon Surges as Online Game Maker Plans Share Buyback

Nexon Co., the Japanese maker of online games such as MapleStory, jumped the most on record in Tokyo trading after saying it will buy back shares.

Nexon rose 12 percent to close at 921 yen, the biggest gain since its initial share sale in December 2011. The stock has dropped 5.2 percent this year, compared with a 9.1 percent decline for the Topix index.

The company, which earns money from sales of in-game items, plans to spend as much as 10 billion yen ($98 million) to buy back as many as 12.5 million shares, it said yesterday. The buyback reflects efforts to return money to shareholders, Chief Financial Officer Shiro Uemura said on a conference call.

Nexon distributes about 60 online titles free to smartphones and personal computers in 100 countries and is increasing its emphasis on upgrades to existing games over new releases.

The strategy is to do “fewer titles really, really well,” Chief Executive Officer Owen Mahoney said in an interview today.

Nexon expects to release more than 20 mobile games this year as well as PC titles, Greg Melchior, a spokesman, said yesterday.

Net income for the quarter ended March rose 6.6 percent to 16.1 billion yen, while sales increased 7 percent to 47.5 billion yen, Nexon reported yesterday.

(Corrects reference to PC titles in sixth paragraph of story published May 14.)
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