Kakao gets new investment partners, ₩92 billion

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Kakao gets new investment partners, ₩92 billion

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KakaoTalk, Korea’s top mobile messenger service, said yesterday it secured 92 billion won ($81 million) in investment deals from China’s largest Internet portal service operator Tencent and a Korean online game firm, which analysts said will give the company an opportunity to strengthen its mobile platform business.

Tencent and Korean game firm We Made Entertainment forged deals with KakaoTalk yesterday. Tencent will pay 72 billion won for 3.6 million shares and We Made Entertainment will invest 20 billion won in 1 million shares. The two firms acquired the unlisted company’s shares at 20,000 won per share and the payments will be completed by the end of April, according to KakaoTalk.

“Tencent and We Made Entertainment decided to make investments because they saw potential that KakaoTalk’s mobile platform business will grow in the future,” said KakaoTalk CEO Lee Sir-goo in a press release. “We will strengthen strategic partnerships with the related companies for expanding the global mobile platform and mobile game platform businesses.”

Tencent is the operator of China’s most popular instant messaging computer program QQ and Internet service portal QQ.com.

We Made Entertainment in March signed an agreement with KakaoTalk to jointly develop a mobile game platform service tentatively called Game Center, which will allow game developers to provide their games to KakaoTalk users. KakaoTalk aims to launch a beta service first to test the market as early as this month.

Yesterday’s deal was the largest investment deal signed by KakaoTalk. Previously, the firm, which now boasts 44 million users worldwide, successfully collected a combined 25.9 billion won in investments from private investors and Maverick Capital, CyberAgent and Korea Investment Partners in 2011.

The investment deal also fueled already-mounting speculation that KakaoTalk will be listed on the Kosdaq next year.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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