Electronic Arts Takes Stake in South Korea's Neowiz

Electronic Arts, the world's biggest game publisher, said on Tuesday it would buy a stake in South Korea's Neowiz for about $105 million and jointly develop games for Asian markets.

The news propelled shares of Neowiz, online game developer and operator, up as much as 12% in early Tuesday trade.

Neowiz would issue new common and preferred shares worth 100.5 billion won to EA . When the deal closes, EA will become Neowiz's second biggest shareholder after the Korean firm's chief executive, with about 19% of common stock equivalent, EA said in a statement.

The sale was part of an alliance under which the two companies would cooperate in developing and publishing games. They partnered last year to launch the online version of EA's popular FIFA sports game.

EA and Neowiz also plan to jointly develop four additional online games in Asia, the companies said.

Online games allowing players to compete simultaneously over the Internet have become the norm in South Korea, one of the countries with the world's highest broadband penetration rates and a game culture built around Internet cafes.

Neowiz, which competes local rivals including Webzen and NCSoft, rose 8.18% to 74,100 won in the morning session.