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Kakao Page to merge with Kakao M ahead of 2021 IPO

Dec 03, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Kakao Page, popular mobile app offering original webtoons and web novels
Kakao Page, popular mobile app offering original webtoons and web novels

South Korea's largest mobile app operator Kakao Corp. is working to merge its content platform affiliates, a strategic move that should boost the enterprise value of Kakao Page Corp. ahead of its scheduled initial public offering next year.

Kakao aims to join its entertainment arm Kakao M with Kakao Page, the webtoon (digital comics) content platform, given that the two companies combined offer a robust intellectual property portfolio and should lift Kakao Page's market evaluation prior to the listing, according to the M&A industry on Dec. 2.

Kakao Page has mandated NH Investment & Securities Co. and KB Securities Co. as IPO managers as it plans for a trading debut next year. 

Since Kakao initially anticipated Kakao Page IPO to be valued at around 5 trillion won ($4.6 billion), the merger will create a platform giant with a valuation nearing 7 trillion won ($6.4 billion), including Kakao M's enterprise value of 2 trillion won.

Founded in 2010, Kakao Page is a content platform that offers webtoons and web novels. Last year, the company posted 257 billion won ($234 million) in revenue and 30.6 billion won in operating profit.

Kakao Page has been ramping up its global content operations, with recent forays into Japan, Southeast Asia, the US and China. The company is focusing on its intellectual property business that sells IP works to be adapted into films, dramas, games and other content mediums.

Kakao M was set up when Kakao acquired Loen Entertainment in 2016. It is an entertainment platform that manages music labels, singers and actors. Last year, the company posted 353 billion won in revenue and an operating profit of 21.1 billion won.

Earlier this year, Kakao M's enterprise value was estimated to reach around 2 trillion won after securing 209.8 billion won ($191 million) from private equity firm Anchor Equity Partners, which became the company's No. 2 shareholder. Earlier in 2016, the PE firm also invested 125 billion won in Kakao Page.

Write to Ri-ahn Kim at

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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