Kakao Pay, the online payment service of South Korean tech giant Kakao, has successfully invested $17 million in Siebert Financial Corp., a New York-based brokerage firm. This investment enables Kakao Pay to acquire a 19.9% stake in Siebert, marking its entry into the U.S. financial market.
In addition to the investment, Siebert Financial Corp. also announced key leadership changes. On the 31st, the company announced the appointment of Simon Shin, the current leader of the payment group at Kakao Pay, as an external director.
Simon Shin, a prominent figure at Kakao, has played a pivotal role in the company’s financial ventures. After successful tenures at Intel and Samsung Electronics, Shin joined Kakao in 2020 and is currently leading the payment group while overseeing business development at Kakao Pay.
Similarly, John J. Gebbia, an industry veteran and member of Siebert’s Board of Directors since 2020, has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Board and CEO. Gebbia played a pivotal role in Siebert’s revenue growth, which surged from $10 million to over $67 million in 2021.
Further, Kakao Pay has unveiled plans to acquire an additional 31.1% stake in Siebert. Subject to approval from shareholders and regulatory authorities, this move would make Kakao Pay the largest shareholder, holding a majority 51% stake and taking over management rights.
Kakao Pay, a fintech subsidiary of Kakao Corp., is renowned for its extensive user base of around 40 million registered users and its wide range of financial offerings. With Shin’s appointment, Siebert aims to enhance its operations by incorporating fresh perspectives and leveraging Kakao’s industry knowledge.
This proposed acquisition is part of Kakao Pay’s strategic vision to expand its influence in the global financial landscape. The second transaction is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2024 if the necessary approvals are obtained.
Shin Won-geun, CEO of Kakao Pay, spoke to the media about the announcement. “With Siebert, which has accumulated more than 55 years of tradition and experience in the U.S. stock market, we can enhance Kakao Pay’s user experience and benefits.” As we expand our business, we will strive to return more benefits to our users,” he said.
The Gebbia family, who currently oversees Siebert’s management team, will continue to provide leadership for the company. Furthermore, after the transaction is finalized, all 120 employees will retain their positions, as both Siebert and Kakao Pay affirmed.
“I look forward to working closely with our experienced senior leadership team and employees to ensure the business’s long-term success. The appointment of Mr. Shin to our Board of Directors and the close of the first investment from Kakao Pay continue to solidify our partnership with Kakao Pay and mark the beginning of a great chapter of growth for both firms,” John J. Gebbia said during an interview.