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    A035420   KR7035420009

NAVER CORPORATION

(A035420)
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South Korea's Kakao to buy two U.S. storytelling apps for $950 million

05/10/2021 | 09:00pm EDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Kakao Entertainment Corp said on Tuesday it was acquiring U.S.-based online comic app Tapas and serialized fiction app Radish for $510 million and $440 million, respectively.

The purchase will make Kakao, the online comic, talent agency and movie-making unit of South Korean tech giant Kakao Corp, the latest South Korean entertainment firm to expand in North America as Korean entertainment's global reach widens.

"We are planning to engage the North American market in earnest through the intellectual property (IP) business" through the acquisitions, Kakao Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Jinsoo Lee told Reuters.

"Just 80 Kakao IPs are responsible for half of Tapas' sales... Based on such growth data, we determined that Kakao Entertainment's growth formula in Korea or Japan was also possible in America and other English-speaking regions."

Kakao Entertainment has seen success with its online-based web cartoons or "webtoons" at home and in Japan, with Kakao-backed 'Piccoma' becoming one of Japan's highest-grossing mobile apps outside games.

Kakao also owns serialized fiction IPs, movie production companies, actors' talent agencies, K-pop artists' labels plus performance and content companies, making it "unique" in its ability to convert a single IP into many channels and forms, Radish CEO and founder Seungyoon Lee told Reuters.

"It can literally take a web fiction into a webtoon then turn it into a TV drama and movie."

Radish adds to this smartphone-optimised "bite-sized" fiction from teams of writers, including some who have won Emmy Awards for soap operas, with revenue that jumped tenfold in 2020. Tapas' strength in "webtoons" led to five-fold jump in sales in 2020, Kakao said.

Radish previously received Series A funding from investors including SoftBank Group Corp's venture arm and Kakao.

Earlier this year, K-pop sensation BTS' agency HYBE announced the acquisition of Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings in a $1.05 billion deal.

South Korea's tech giant Naver purchased Canada-based storytelling platform Wattpad for $600 million.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue and Rashmi Aich)

By Joyce Lee


© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
HYBE CO., LTD. -2.53% 289500 End-of-day quote.80.94%
IPS CO., LTD. -2.30% 933 End-of-day quote.0.32%
KAKAO CORP. -1.01% 147000 End-of-day quote.88.70%
NAVER CORPORATION -1.37% 433500 End-of-day quote.48.21%
S&P GSCI COCOA INDEX -2.75% 93.0087 Delayed Quote.-6.45%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. -2.61% 6837 End-of-day quote.-15.15%
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Financials
Sales 2021 6 766 B 5,87 B 5,87 B
Net income 2021 16 714 B 14,5 B 14,5 B
Net cash 2021 2 489 B 2,16 B 2,16 B
P/E ratio 2021 4,17x
Yield 2021 0,10%
Capitalization 64 296 B 56 309 M 55 809 M
EV / Sales 2021 9,14x
EV / Sales 2022 7,10x
Nbr of Employees 15 148
Free-Float 90,3%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 33
Last Close Price 433 500,00 KRW
Average target price 529 454,55 KRW
Spread / Average Target 22,1%
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Managers and Directors
Seong-Sook Han Chief Executive Officer & Director
Sang-Jin Park Chief Financial Officer
In-Hyuk Choi Chief Operating Officer & Director
Yeon-Ah Jeong Head-Legal Affairs & Compliance Support
Hae-Jin Lee Global Investment Officer
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