SEOUL, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- South Korea's largest mobile-gaming company, Netmarble, will purchase Woongjin Coway, a global powerhouse in the instant drink machines market, according to a regulatory filing.
Netmarble, which has tried to expand beyond mobile and online games, plans to spend $1.5 billion to purchase 25.08 percent of Woongjin Coway from Woongjin Group.
Initially, Netmarble did not take part in the competition to take over Woongjin Coway, as such firms as SK Networks of South Korea and China's Haier attempted to acquire the appliance rental giant.
Netmarble threw its hat into the ring at the last minute and eventually won as rivals pulled out.
Lack of competition forced Woongjin Group to cut the selling price to below the $1.7 billion originally sought by the cash-strapped conglomerate.
Woongjin Coway was established in 1989 in the consumer appliance rental business. In addition to water purifiers, the Seoul-based outfit rents water softeners and air purifiers. The company has cornered more than 50 percent of South Korea's rental service market while the market share of runner-up SK Magic is less than 15 percent.
South Korean private equity fund MBK Partners purchased Woongjin Coway in 2013 and resold it to Woongjin Group early this year.