Billionaire’s Game Maker Surges on Surprise Nikkei Announcement
(Bloomberg) -- Shares of game maker Nexon Co. soared to a record high in Tokyo after the surprise announcement that it will join Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average, replacing retailer FamilyMart Co.
Nexon, founded by South Korean billionaire Kim Jung-ju, closed 17% higher after touching its daily limit of a 20% gain earlier. The stock will be added to Japan’s blue-chip gauge on Oct. 29, Nikkei Inc. said.
“It’s very much a surprise, one wouldn’t predict this pick at first,” said Keiichi Ito, chief quants analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “If they chose based on liquidity, then there must have been other names to choose from.”
Kim owns about 48% of Nexon’s stock through his holding company NXC Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares of the company, known for its Dungeon & Fighter and Maple Story games, have nearly doubled this year, helped by the stay-at-home theme amid the pandemic before the Nikkei nod.
Stocks that had been cited by analysts as potential candidates to replace FamilyMart in the Nikkei 225 included Kakaku.com Inc., Zozo Inc., Square Enix Holdings Co., Lawson Inc., Skylark Holdings Co., Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. and perennial pick Nintendo Co. Shares of Kakaku.com tumbled 7.8% Friday, Zozo slid 7.2%, Square Enix fell 3.9% and Skylark dropped 2.8%. Candidates for replacement often see share moves in the runup to the actual announcement.
Passive funds tracking the Nikkei 225 will need to adjust their portfolios by the end of trading on Oct. 28. That means the Thursday evening announcement gave them just four trading sessions to buy the required 60 million shares of Nexon estimated by SMBC Nikko’s Ito, equivalent to 32 days worth of the stock’s average daily trading volume over the previous 25 days.
Out and In
The acquisition of FamilyMart by trading house Itochu Corp. was approved at an extraordinary shareholder’s meeting Thursday, and the convenience-store operator will be delisted on Nov. 12.
When a Nikkei 225 stock is delisted or removed, gauge operator Nikkei Inc. usually replaces it with a highly liquid name from the same sector. While Nintendo has both the liquidity and market representation, its large share price has often been seen as a drawback for the price-weighted measure.
For market watchers keeping track of changes to the Nikkei, it’s been a fairly busy year for announcements. Japan Exchange Group Inc. joined the measure in July, replacing Sony Financial Holdings after Sony Corp. took full control of the unit. In September it was announced that SoftBank Corp. would be added and Nippon Kayaku Co. would be cut.
The next potential vacancy may be created if Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp.’s $40 billion buyout plan for mobile carrier NTT Docomo Inc. succeeds. Rohm Co. and Murata Manufacturing have been named as potential replacements.
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