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Stock split

Kakao to split stock 5-for-1 after share price hits record high

Feb 26, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Kakao founder and Chairman Brian Kim during a Feb. 26 virtual town hall meeting with Kakao employees.
Kakao founder and Chairman Brian Kim during a Feb. 26 virtual town hall meeting with Kakao employees.

Kakao Corp. will split its stock on a five-for-one basis in April, which the South Korean mobile messaging app giant said would make the stock more accessibile to a broader base of investors.

Following the stock split effective from April 15, the face value of its shares will be cut to 100 won from 500 won apiece, the company said in a regulatory filing after Thursday’s market close. The number of its outstanding shares will increase to 443.5 million shares from the current 88.7 million.

The announcement came after Kakao shares touched a historic high of 519,000 won ($464) last week. Picked as a main beneficiary of the contactless trend, its share price has more than quadrupled since the COVID-19 struck early last year.

Currently Kakao is the ninth-largest stock on the Kospi, with a market capitalization of 43.4 trillion won ($39 billion).

Investors welcomed the company's decision, pushing its shares 4.85% higher to 508,000 won in Thursday after-hours trade. A stock split boosts share turnover and leads to share price gains, as was seen in the stock prices of Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. after their stock splits last year. On Friday morning, Kakao was trading 1.34% higher at 491,000 won.

Since South Korea's largest stock Samsung Electronics Co.'s 50-for-1 stock split in May 2018, its shares have shot up 61%. In the same year, Naver Corp., the country's top online portal, carried out a five-for-1 stock split. Since then its share price has nearly trebled, to 383,000 won by Thursday’s finish.

Kakao's stock split is subject to approval at a general shareholders' meeting on Mar. 29. Trading in its shares will be suspended between Apr. 12 and 14, before re-listing on April 15.

Earlier this month, Kakao founder and Chairman Brian Kim announced that he would donate more than half of his wealth estimated at more than 10 trillion won ($9 billion) to address social issues.

In a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, Kim said he has been benchmarking his role model Bill Gates to set up a business and a charity foundation to donate his personal wealth.

Write to Kyeong-je Han at hankyung@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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