Korea’s dominant messaging firm Kakao is back raising funds after its games business, a standalone unit that is headed for an IPO, pulled in $130 million (140 billion KRW) from Tencent and a range of other strategic investors.
The company, which owns Korea’s top mobile messaging app and one of the country’s largest internet portals, operates a sprawl of businesses that include taxi-hailing, deliveries, comics, payments and more. It has adopted the spin-out approach favored by Chinese tech firms for a number of these entities, with Kakao Taxi — for example — raising more than $400 million from outside investors last year.
Recently, Kakao itself completed a placement in Singapore which netted the parent firm $1 billion for international growth, and now it is the turn of its games business.
Kakao Games pulled the capital in from Tencent — the $500 billion Chinese tech giant that was an early backer of Kakao itself — via two subsidiaries and Korea’s Netmarble Games, which is backed by Tencent. Other that participated in the round include game development studio Actozsoft, Bluehole Studio — the producer behind PlayerUnknown’s hit game ‘Battlegrounds’ and an existing Kakao Games partner — and M&A fund Premier Growth.
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