South Korea NAVER Acquires Whattpad, a story platform where users publish more than 1 billion original works | GLM

South Korea NAVER Acquires Whattpad, a story platform where users publish more than 1 billion original works | GLM

Read more from Author Rachel Maga here: https://globelivemedia.com/author/rachel-maga/

Based in Toronto and having a 14-year history, Wattpad is a VC-backed social story platform that has expanded into a variety of fields. The Wattpad is about to be acquired by South Korean conglomerate NAVER for $ 600 million in cash and stock transactions.

NAVER plans to incorporate at least part of Wattpad’s business into the publishing platform Webtoon, which launched in 2004 and entered the United States in 2014. Webtoon is a platform that publishes thousands of user-created manga and has a large readership. According to NAVER, Webtoon has an average of more than 67 million users per month as of August 2020.

If you look at it normally, this deal seems to make sense. According to South Korea’s Pulse News, some of the web comics have gained a wider audience and are expanding into movies (the last article was “The”. It’s a trailer for a popular series called “Secret of Angel”).

Similarly, Wattpad, originally launched as an e-book app, has evolved into a popular platform where users publish their original work and more than 90 million people visit it every month to read it (in fact, it was posted on Verge last week). According to the article, Wattpad has spent years posting more than a billion stories, and users spend a total of 22 billion minutes a month reading those stories).

Like Webtoon, Wattpad is a streaming media, as Netflix, Apple, and even platforms like GoPlay launched in 2019 by Indonesian ride-sharing giant GoJek need fresh content. I have been focusing on. (In addition to Wattpad Studios, Wattpad launched a book publishing division in 2019).

In a press release, Webtoon CEO Jun Koo Kim said the partnership was “a major step towards becoming a world-leading multimedia entertainment company.”

Meanwhile, NAVER CEO Seong-Sook Han has been built by Wattpad co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen after the acquisition. (NAVER’s subsidiary runs LINE, a popular messaging app developed in Tokyo), saying it will lead the company.

Whether or not this acquisition was a good thing for Wattpad investors, it seems to be ok (though it’s hard to tell without knowing the terms of each investment).

Wattpaid has raised $ 117.8 million from investors in Asia, the United States and Canada for many years, but in its most recent round, Tencent Holdings, BDC and Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures and Peterson Group. , Canso, Raine Ventures raised $ 51 million.

According to Pitchbook, the final deal announced in 2018 brought the company’s ex-post valuation to $ 398 million.

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Rachel Maga
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life's biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.