UPDATE: Kakao’s spokesperson has denied IPO plans, saying that the local media reports are incorrect. Read the article here.
Kakao, the one company which has dominated all of South Korea with its messenger app KakaoTalk, has finally announced its plans for initial public offering (IPO). Its valuation is stated as KRW 5 trillion (US$5 billion) and will be listed on the Korea Exchange (KRX).
According to the report on Naver, Samsung Securities (“SS”) seems the most likely to lead Kakao’s IPO. SS has sold 250,000 self-owned shares to private clients. Prices per share are stated at KRW 79,560 (about US$75), with the total value at KRW 19.9 billion (US$18.7 million).
Share-owning Kakao employees could also cash out early if they want to, with the company’s value increasing by four times since Tencent and WeMade Entertainment invested in it last year.
If Kakao does enter the IPO market next year, it is still US$23 billion short of beating LINE, an Asian competitor. LINE is planning to IPO globally at US$28 billion. Currently, KakaoTalk alone has a total of more than 100 million users (as of July 2013). WeChat and LINE, on the other hand, already crossed 200 million users (as of late-July 2013).