October 29, 2019 / 10:36 AM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-Sweden's MTG eyes U.S. listing, launches review of gaming business

(Adds CEO comment, background, shares)

STOCKHOLM, Oct 29 (Reuters) - E-sports and gaming group MTG said on Tuesday it will explore a U.S. stock market listing and launch a review of its gaming business, potentially bringing in a strategic partner to help it expand geographically.

MTG, which spun-off its media and TV business NENT last year, said it would consider all options for the gaming business. It added that it would evaluate the potential for MTG as a pure e-sport company, focused on running professional online gaming leagues and tournaments, implying that it could also sell the gaming business.

The global games market is expected to generate $152.1 billion this year, with the U.S. overtaking China as the biggest market, while mobile gaming will grow 10% year-on-year to $68.5 billion, according to analytics firm Newzoo.

MTG, whose company Innogames makes the strategy game “Forge of Empires”, said the review could result in a joint-venture partnership for the gaming business.

“That could be with private equity,” CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann told Reuters.

“That is of course compelling, to get access to more capital, get access to more geographies,” he said, adding a potential partner could be North American or South Asian.

As part of the review, MTG - whose main markets are the United States and Europe - said it would also explore an additional listing in the United States, one of the biggest e-sport markets in the world.

MTG shares, which have fallen around 28% so far this year, were almost 6% higher by 0959 GMT.

MTG will assess its cash requirements once the review is complete, it said in a statement.

“The outcome of the review could lead to a potential redistribution of any excess cash to...shareholders,” it said.

MTG said last month that Chinese live streaming platform Huya, backed by internet giant Tencent, was buying a stake in its Turtle Entertainment (ESL) company to help it expand into China.

MTG also said it would target 50 million Swedish crowns ($5.14 million) in annual cost savings to make its organisation more efficient.

$1 = 9.7248 Swedish crowns Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Johannes Hellstrom, editing by Jason Neely and Kirsten Donovan

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