Kakao Bank gears up IPO process by recruiting underwriting team

2020.11.12 11:45:10 | 2020.11.12 13:51:16

[Source: Kakao Corp.]이미지 확대

[Source: Kakao Corp.]

South Korea’s online-only lender Kakao Bank is readying initial public offering planned for next year, while the stock frenzy and demand for entrants is still red-hot.

According to sources from the investment banking industry on Wednesday, Kakao Bank sent out letters of request to multiple domestic and foreign-based brokerages including Mirae Asset Daewoo, Samsung Securities, KB Securities, NH Investment & Securities, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi Global Market Securities, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and UBS. Korea Investment Securities was left out because its parent Korea Investment Holdings and affiliate Korea Investment Value Asset Management are shareholders of the digital lender with a respective holding of 4.9 percent and 28.6 percent.

[Graphics by Choi Mira and Song Ji-yoon]이미지 확대

[Graphics by Choi Mira and Song Ji-yoon]

Kakao Bank plans to receive applications until Nov. 24 and pick underwriters no later than early December.

Its board in late September approved the scheme to go public. The five-year-old bank set up by Kakao chat platform that almost all Koreans use daily has assets of 25 trillion won and outstanding loan balance of 18.7 trillion won ($17 billion) as of September.

But the bank should not be in a hurry to raise new capital since its board two weeks ago okayed issues of rights offering worth 750 billion won worth - 250 billion won to U.S. private equity fund Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and the remainder 500 billion won to existing shareholders.

Its earlier IPO also could spoil the chances for its units.

Kakao’s simple payment unit Kakao Pay had a kick-off meeting with its IPO book-running team to go public next year. Kakao Pay is expected to go first, then Kakao Bank and followed by content operator Kakao Page.

Kakao Bank’s over-the-counter value has gone up to 32 trillion won, its stock trading for 89,500 won per share, according to the nation’s non-listed stocks exchange platform provider Dunamu.

But actual valuation would likely be around 15 trillion won. TPG, a new shareholder of the online-only lender, estimated the company’s value at 8.5 trillion won.

By Kang Woo-seok, Kang In-seon and Choi Mira

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