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Future mobility

LG invests $88 mn in Kakao Mobility as both seek new growth opportunities

LG aims to strengthen its Battery-as-a-Service business through a partnership with Kakao

By Jul 02, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG invests  mn in Kakao Mobility as both seek new growth opportunities

LG Corp., the holding company of South Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate LG Group, is investing 100 billion won ($88 million) in Kakao Mobility Corp., the country’s largest taxi-hailing firm, as the group seeks new growth opportunities in future mobility.

LG Corp. said on Friday it has decided to participate in third-party rights offering by Kakao to assume a 2.5% stake in the ride-hailing company. With the stake, LG will become Kakao Mobility’s fourth-largest shareholder.

LG said the investment will allow its affiliates, including LG Energy Solution Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc., to create synergy with Kakao in the mobility sector. LG is particularly interested in battery-related businesses, including recycling, it said.

LG Energy Solution, which makes batteries for electric cars, has been strengthening its Battery-as-a-Service (Baas) business that offers battery management service and recycling of used batteries as well as battery manufacturing.

LG Electronics unveiled an EV charging station management solution last year.

TPG, CARLYE, GOOGLE AMONG OTHER INVESTORS

Meanwhile, Kakao Mobility, a unit of Korea’s leading mobile platform operator Kakao Corp., has been raising new capital to develop self-driving and other mobility-related technology.

LG invests  mn in Kakao Mobility as both seek new growth opportunities

Earlier this month, Kakao Mobility said it received 140 billion won in investment from a consortium led by US private equity firm TPG and Carlyle Group.

In 2017, TPG invested 500 billion won. And earlier this year, Carlyle and Google pumped $200 million and $50 million into Kakao Mobility, respectively.

LG’s latest investment will bring the total amount Kakao Mobility has raised from investors to more than 1 trillion won.

Following LG Corp’s stake purchase, Kakao Mobility will be 59.2% owned by Kakao Corp.; 29.9% by the TPG-led consortium; 6.4% by Carlyle; and 1.6% by Google.

Kakao Mobility's app, Kakao T, offers Korea's most popular taxi-hailing service with 28 million registered users.

Write to Jun-ho Cha at chacha@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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