Kakao Entertainment Corp., Kakao’s mass media and publishing unit, finalizes its acquisition of two US-based online comic and storytelling platforms. In particular, the company acquired Radish Fiction Inc. and Tapas Media Inc. as part of its original content business expansion. According to Kakao Entertainment, it aims to engage in the world’s largest media market, North America, and other English-speaking regions.
Acquiring Radish Fiction and Tapas Media
Notably, the Kakao subsidiary invested in the two storytelling platforms to support its fast-growing global web novel and webtoon business. Kakao Entertainment acquired the US-based Radish, an industry-leading mobile app that offers serialized fiction. Furthermore, Radish Co-Founder Lee Seung-Yoon said that Radish plans to adapt its IPs into dramas, movies, and other multimedia formats. To this end, Kakao Entertainment would collaborate with Radish to promote their original content and introduce them to wider audiences.
Kakao Entertainment also obtained Tapas, the first webcomic service provider in the US, for 573 billion won ($510 million). Following the transaction, the South Korean entertainment company receives a 100% stake in Tapas. Kim Chang, Tapas’ CEO, also said that the merger would enable Tapas to continue expanding its massive original IP library.
Strengthening its North American Foothold
“Tapas and Radish are two amazingly powerful storytelling platforms, and we welcome them into the Kakao Entertainment family with open arms as we rapidly ramp up our global operations,” said Lee Jin-Soo, Kakao Entertainment’s CEO. Lee also stated that the company plans to combine Tapas and Radish’s substantial North American foothold with its extensive expertise in the IP business.
Kakao Entertainment also noted that its Tapas partnership with its existing webtoon IPs already showed promising results. The collaboration strengthened the company’s standing in North American markets. Kakao Entertainment also expects the Radish acquisition to provide a publishing platform with boundless potential. Moreover, Radish’s platform would enable Kakao Entertainment to publish its web novels for the first time in North America.
Moreover, these latest investments would widen Kakao Entertainment’s global reach, which has significantly grown popularity in the Japanese market. Kakao’s affiliate webtoon platform Piccoma already established a solid market share in Japan, becoming one of the top-grossing apps. In April, Kakao launched Studio1Pic, a production studio for cultivating South Korean original webtoon content. Industry analysts also predict the worldwide web fiction and online comic market to grow up to 30% every year.
Head-to-Head Competition with Naver
Separately, the search engine operator Naver Corp. finished its acquisition of the world’s largest multi-platform storytelling company Wattpad. Naver Webtoon Head Kim Joon-Ku also said that Naver Webtoon’s advanced tech and Wattpad’s comprehensive library would create outstanding synergy. Kakao Entertainment’s rival also revealed that it would apply its advertisement tech, paid services, and other IP operations to Wattpad.
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