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Korea homegrown app begins process for H1 2022 listing

After One store’s listing, SK Square may also seek IPOs for SK Shieldus, 11Street, Tmap Mobility

By Nov 26, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Korea homegrown app begins process for H1 2022 listing

One store Co., the South Korean homegrown app store developed by the country’s top online platform Naver Corp. and three telecom carriers, is moving ahead with its plan to go public in the first half of next year with a targeted corporate value of around $1.7 billion.

The listing is the first initial public offering by a unit of SK Square, an investment firm spun off from SK Telecom Co. Other units such as SK Shieldus, formerly known as ADT Caps Co., 11Street Co. and Tmap Mobility Corp. are likely to follow One store’s move.

One store on Nov. 26 applied for a preliminary review to the Korea Exchange to list its shares on the main Kospi, according to investment banking industry sources.

The exchange is likely to approve the plan in the first quarter of 2022 unless it has serious issues, allowing the company's market debut within the first half. 

TO COMPETE WITH GOOGLE PLAY STORE, APPLE APP STORE

One store was founded in June 2016 by combining app stores separately operated by Naver and telecom operators to compete in the local app store market dominated by the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

As of the end of the first half of 2021, One store’s cumulative number of subscribers reached 58 million, with some 210,000 games and 1 million story-related contents such as webtoons registered.

The homegrown app store has been growing its business, logging 156.8 billion won ($131.2 million) in revenue in just the first three quarters of this year, already higher than the 155.2 billion won in sales for all of 2020. Its earnings are expected to improve further as the company recently expanded its business portfolio into advertising and content productions.

One store has already attracted major investors at home and from abroad. In June, it raised 11.3 billion won from Microsoft Corp. and 5.5 billion won from Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP). The app store’s existing shareholders KT Corp. and LG Uplus made additional investments of 21 billion won and 5 billion won, respectively, in March.

The app store’s enterprise value was evaluated at around 1 trillion won in the series of investments, according to telecom industry sources. It may aim to double the value to some 2 trillion won, the sources speculated.

SK Square is expected to seek listings of other units since the company aims to raise its corporate value through IPOs.

SK Shieldus, a security services provider, is currently preparing for a stock market debut next year, while others including 11Street and Tmap Mobility line up for listings.

Write to Jin-Seong Kim at jskim1028@hankyung.com

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.
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