South Korean development company Naver Corp. announced they have acquired the Canadian multi-platform storytelling company, Wattpad Corp. The transaction between the two companies amounted to 653.3 billion won (US $593.6 million). Through its flagship application, Wattpad provides a social storytelling platform where users can create and publish their stories.
“Co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, and the entire team at Wattpad, have created something special, and we are grateful to have Allen and Ivan continue to lead this fantastic company for us post-acquisition,” said Naver’s chief executive, Han Seong-sook. “Wattpad’s vision to entertain and connect the world through stories fits perfectly with our vision for WEBTOON and Naver’s content brand. We’re thrilled to have them join the Naver family.”
Due to the investment, Naver can help boost Wattpad’s international presence and achievements. The purchase will align Wattpad to Line Webtoon Corp. (WEBTOON), a South Korean subsidiary publishing portal launched by Naver Corporation. Line Webtoon operates a digital multi-lingual webcomic platform for the global market, supporting more than 70 million monthly users. Through Wattpad, Naver can strengthen their business operations in North America and convert stories into comics.
“Wattpad joining WEBTOON under the Naver umbrella is a big step towards us becoming a leading global multimedia entertainment company,” said WEBTOON founder and chief executive Kim Jun-koo. “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.”
Wattpad has an average monthly user count of over 90 million. If combined with Naver’s WEBTOON, both companies could gain over 160 million monthly users. During the second quarter of Wattpad’s fiscal year, Naver will finalize their acquisition. Naver’s acquisition is subject to customary adjustments, as well as regulatory approvals and terms. Under the management of founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, Wattpad will retain their head office in Toronto.
“When we started Wattpad in 2006, we understood that technology would democratize storytelling and that stories are the atomic unit of every type of entertainment,” said Wattpad founder Lau. “In 2021, when every form of entertainment is being transformed, we’ve built a platform that can fuel hits on screen and bookshelves, empowering and rewarding a new generation of diverse creators all over the world.”
“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,” Lau continued.
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