Tencent is shortlisted to buy South Korean game maker Nexon, sina.com reported, citing the Korea Economic Daily.

The deal size could be up to 15 trillion Korean won (US$13.3 billion), making it potentially the largest M&A deal in the game industry globally, the report said.

Other shortlisted bidders include South Korea’s biggest chat operator Kakao, private equity firms Bain Capital, MBK Partners and an unidentified private equity firm, it said, adding that a formal bid process was scheduled for early April.

The newspaper had reported in February that Tencent will join hands with South Korean publisher Netmarble to bid for Nexon. However the latest report said Netmarble did not join the preliminary bidding, but formed a consortium with MBK Partners.

Tencent has expressed its intention to increase investment in the domestic eSports industry this year, as the Chinese government released incentive policies and subsidies to boost the industry, the report said. The Chinese IT giant will also organize more eSports games and events on a larger scale, it added. 

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