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Artificial Intelligence

IGIS invests in Kakao Enterprise for AI-embedded real estate

The real estate firm will inject $8.3 million in the AI developer for the smart operation of logistics and data centers, sources say

By Jan 05, 2022 (Gmt+09:00)

Kakao Enterprise Corp.
Kakao Enterprise Corp.

IGIS Asset Management Co. and its venture capital affiliate are slated to invest 10 billion won ($8.3 million) in Kakao Enterprise Corp., an artificial intelligence developer unit under South Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate Kakao Corp.

IGIS Asset Management, Korea’s largest real estate asset manager, and its venture capital firm IGIS Investment Partners Co. will participate in Kakao Enterprise’s rights offering, Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service said on Jan. 5. IGIS Asset Management and the affiliate will acquire 46,875 shares and 5,209 shares in Kakao Enterprise, respectively, for a combined 10 billion won. KD Growth Investment Cooperative, under Korea’s Kwang Dong Pharmaceutical Co., will also acquire 193,494 shares. The total rights offerings by Kakao Enterprise will amount to 52.2 billion won.

The AI solutions developer and IGIS Asset Management will collaborate in building AI infrastructure for warehouses and data centers, market watchers said.

“Kakao Enterprise’s corporate value was 1.1 trillion won in March of 2021. Now it is estimated as up to 3 trillion won and is expected to further increase. IGIS could earn huge capital gains from selling the shares in the future, as well as create synergy effects from collaborations with Kakao Enterprise,” said an investment banking industry source.

Kakao Enterprise is Kakao’s corporate spin-off founded in December of 2019. It offers AI technologies and platforms to businesses in the medical, financial, logistics and construction industries. Its flagship services include work messenger platform Kakao Work and cloud solution Kakao i Cloud.

In January of 2021, the AI developer topped 1 trillion won in enterprise value following the 100 billion investment from Korea Development Bank (KDB). Now, the AI company is garnering attention from market watchers awaiting its public offering.

IGIS and Kakao started their partnership last year. IGIS Investment Partners and Kakao Mobility Corp., a transportation service unit of Kakao, signed an agreement to set up a car-parking joint venture in July of 2021. Kakao Mobility will spin off its parking services team which IGIS will invest in as a strategic investor, the two parties announced at the time. Through the partnership, Kakao plans to expand its parking businesses including car-sharing and electric vehicle charging services.

Write to A-Young Yoon at youngmoney@hankyung.com

Jihyun Kim edited this article.

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