BlackRock becomes major Kakao shareholder with 5.18% stake

2021.02.22 10:13:53 | 2021.02.22 15:49:01

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BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest fund operator, invested more than 5 percent stake in Kakao Corp. in line with the Korean IT company’s rapid expansion in the digital landscape based on dominant chat platform Kakao Talk.

The U.S.-based investment giant disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday that it bought 5.18 percent or 4,596,963 shares in Kakao for simple investment purpose without intention to influence Kakao’s management.

The acquisition was made on Jan. 15 during market hours when Kakao shares were trading at 214,583 won ($194). BlackRock would have spent over 986.4 billion won for the shares.

On Friday, Kakao shares closed 0.6 percent higher at 504,000 won, nearly double the value when Blackrock made its purchase, bumping up its stake value to 2.3 trillion won.

On Monday, Kakao shares finished 2.68 percent lower at 490,500 won.

Under Korean law, a shareholder holding 5 percent or more in a listed company in Korea is required to report any changes to its stake.

Kakao had its profit more than doubled last year from a year ago while sales jumped 35.5 percent.

Upbeat earnings came on its strong platform business and added services in mobile pay and mobility. The company also readies IPOs of its subsidiaries after a spectacular debut of its game unit.

By Kim In-oh and Lee Eun-joo

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