South Korea’s largest internet company, Naver, has announced that it would acquire Canadian self-publishing platform, Wattpad, for $600 million as it seeks the expansion of its digital contents business beyond Asia.
Naver revealed it would purchase 100% stake in Wattpad for 653 billion Won ($595 million), which would be paid in cash. According to the deal announcement, Wattpad is the world’s biggest social storytelling platform, with over 90 million users spending 23 billion minutes every month on the site.
In a statement, the founder and CEO of Naver Webtoon, Kim Jun-koo said: “Wattpad joining Webtoon under the Naver umbrella will be a big step toward us becoming a leading global multimedia entertainment company. Both Wattpad and Webtoon care most about helping creators tell their story their way, and both represent world-leading collections of inspired, imaginative storytelling IP.”
The company said the deal would allow Wattpad to keep accelerating its international growth and success. The company’s Headquarters will remain in Canada under the leadership of founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen.
In a statement, Lau, who is also a CEO said: “Today’s news is about continuing Wattpad’s journey and taking our business to the next level. We’re thrilled about the prospect of joining the amazing teams at Naver and Webtoon to continue our growth, help more writers make money, and bring new voices to screens and bookstores everywhere.”
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be consummated before July 2021. Naver said the price could be jerked up to 708 billion Won if a portion is paid through stock swap.