Kakao Entertainment draws equity financing of $964 mil. from global sovereign wealth funds

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Kakao Entertainment's offices in Gangnam District, Seoul. Courtesy of Kakao Entertainment
Kakao Entertainment’s offices in Gangnam District, Seoul. Courtesy of Kakao Entertainment

By Lee Kyung-min

Kakao Entertainment, a cultural content affiliate of Kakao Corp., said Thursday that it has drawn equity financing to the amount of 1.2 trillion won ($964 million) from leading global sovereign wealth funds. They are Singapore’s Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The amount is the highest figure a local cultural content generator has raised to date, and the largest investment among Kakao affiliates, the firm said.

“It’s significant that we were able to secure funds of this scale at a time when both the Korean and global markets face a lot of uncertainty with weakening investment sentiment,” said Kakao Corp. Chief Investment Officer and Executive Vice President Bae Jae-hyun, who led the deal.

“This is testament to the global competitiveness and future growth potential of Kakao Entertainment’s unique intellectual property value chain, which spans multiple categories in the entertainment industry.”

The funds will help Kakao Entertainment navigate the ultra-competitive global entertainment market with greater stability and flexibility, as it looks to solidify its position on the global stage.

Kakao Entertainment aims to spearhead the growth of K-culture worldwide and propel Kakao Group’s overarching vision of expanding into markets beyond Korea.

Along with advancing in each division, the company will continue to identify strategic opportunities to generate synergy among webtoons, K-pop, K-dramas and movies.

The Kakao affiliate has the country’s largest library of original webtoons and web novels. It has been and will continue to build a global webtoon platform network in North America and Asia and aims to expand its library of stories for readers all around the world.

Key to its growth strategy is North America, where it established Tapas Entertainment, encompassing three popular digital storytelling platforms: Tapas, Radish and Wuxiaworld.

With its 100,000-strong community of creators, the company will seek opportunities to develop popular webtoons and web novels into movies and TV shows.

Its film and television content division has been producing hits. Last year, it released 15 shows and movies, including “Business Proposal,” “Hunt,” “Narco-Saints” and “Broker.”

With a studio system, the company has a host of projects lined up for this year, including “Gyeongseong Creature” (Netflix series), “The Match” (Netflix film) and “The Worst of Evil” (Disney+ series).

The music division leads Korea’s K-pop scene with streaming platform Melon, a popular music streaming service.

It will also focus on expanding K-pop fan communities and building a stronger presence in markets through tours, album releases and activities to engage fans.