Naver hints at U.S. listing of its web cartoon unit

2021.04.21 14:33:37 | 2021.04.29 11:38:11

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Korean internet giant Naver Corp. with dominant readership in North America after acquisition of Toronto-based Wattpad may debut its webtoon platform on the Wall Street, joining the rush of Korean names towards the New York Stock Exchange after Coupang.

Naver chief financial officer Park Sang-jin told Bloomberg the company could list Naver Webtoon once the platform becomes more “solid and familiar” to local investors.

Naver’s American unit Webtoon Entertainment Inc. owns a 100 percent stake in Naver Webtoon Corp. Webtoon Entertainment moved its headquarters to the U.S. from Korea last year. Webtoon Entertainment and Naver Webtoon also own 70 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in LINE Digital Frontier Corp., which operates web cartoon business in Japan. Both have become dominant players in app-based comic publishing in the two countries. The term webtoon is exclusively trademarked for Naver in the U.S. and Japan.

For a greater international identity, Naver will issue more environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) bonds, said Park.

Naver made its maiden offering of five-year $500 million global green bonds last month. It will be using the proceeds on setting up an environmentally-friendly data center in Sejong, Korea.

Coupang’s stunning IPO has inspired more Korean names to venture into the Wall Street.

Dunamu, the operator of Korea’s top crypto currency exchange Upbit, as well as online fresh grocery and food store Market Kurly and entertainment business unit of Korea’s dominant chat app operator Kakao are preparing U.S. initial public offerings.

On Wednesday, shares of Naver closed 2.3 percent lower at 382,000 won ($341.68) in Seoul.

By Pulse

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