Kakao to merge with its entertainment affiliate

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Kakao to merge with its entertainment affiliate

Kakao, the operator of Korea’s top mobile messenger service KakaoTalk, said Thursday it has decided to merge with its entertainment affiliate Kakao M to expand business collaborations.

Kakao said the decision is aimed at bolstering its entertainment content based on its music streaming service Melon, which is currently operated by Kakao M.

Formerly LOEN Entertainment, Kakao M posted annual sales of 357.6 billion won ($330 million) and boasted 3.6 million paid subscribers in 2015, before it was purchased by Kakao in March 2016.

Kakao M saw sharp growth after becoming a member of the Kakao family, posting sales of 580 billion won and having 4.65 million paid members in 2017. Kakao said the merger is expected to help the company acquire more members for its music-streaming platform.

The mobile messenger operator has been seeking to forge deeper ties between the two platforms, allowing users to share music content from Melon through KakaoTalk. Melon is also accessible through Kakao’s artificial intelligence speakers.

The merger will be put up for discussion at a shareholders meeting in July. Kakao is seeking to finalize the deal by September.

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