S.Korea's Netmarble Games considers up to $2.56 bln IPO -source

* Could be S.Korea's 2nd-largest listing ever

* Netmarble's recent blockbuster game raised valuation

estimates-analysts

* Netmarble IPO to raise funds for M&A

(Adds milestone, background)

SEOUL, March 17 (Reuters) - Netmarble Games Corp, South

Korea's largest mobile gaming company, is considering an initial

public offering worth up to about 2.9 trillion won ($2.56

billion) in what could be South Korea's second-largest listing

ever, a source with direct knowledge said on Friday.

The value of the IPO, which could be about 2.2 - 2.9

trillion won, is based on an expected indicative price range of

about 130,000 won to 173,000 won per share, the source said.

If the pricing is not at the bottom of the range, the

listing on the KOSPI is expected to be the

second-largest ever for the bourse behind the 4.9 trillion won

listing of Samsung Life Insurance in 2010.

The numbers could be subject to change before a securities

report is submitted to regulators, the source said. The source

was not authorised to speak to media and thus declined to be

identified.

A spokesman for Netmarble, which is backed by China's

Tencent Holdings, declined to comment.

Analysts have revised up Netmarble's estimated market

capitalisation to between 10 to 15 trillion won after its

blockbuster mobile game "Lineage 2: Revolution" posted record

sales since its December release in South Korea.

Netmarble, which is listing to raise funds for mergers and

acquisitions, aims to raise its ranking in key markets to reach

its goal of becoming a global top 5 game company by 2020,

Netmarble founder Bang Jun-hyuk told Reuters in January.

The company received Korean exchange approval for an IPO in

December 2016. JP Morgan and NH Investment & Securities are

advising the IPO.

Tencent owned a 22.2 percent stake in Netmarble as of

end-2016.

Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd's IPO raised 2.25

trillion won in November 2016, in South Korea's second-largest

ever listing.

($1 = 1,132.6200 won)

(Reporting by Changho Lee; Writing by Joyce Lee; Editing by

Muralikumar Anantharaman)