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Capital Calls: South Korean deals tell tall tales

2 minute read

Japanese manga artist Kamentotsu shows his his four-panel strip comic 'Koguma's Cake Shop' on his smartphone at his workspace in Tokyo, Japan October 8, 2020. Picture taken October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato - RC212M9B5073

HONG KONG, May 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Concise insights on global finance.

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SERIAL ACQUIRERS. Two South Korean web giants are embarking on their next overseas chapters. Kakao Entertainment said on Tuesday read more it is buying bite-sized fiction apps Tapas Media and Radish Media, for a combined $950 million. Rival Naver (035420.KS) also just completed its acquisition of Toronto-based storytelling platform Wattpad for more than $600 million.

The North American acquisition spree makes sense strategically. The webtoon, or digital comic, producers, are both eyeing potential U.S. initial public offerings. Kakao Entertainment’s boss reckons his business could be worth more than $18 billion in a listing. Demand for niche genres and new formats is on the rise. Sony (6758.T) is forking out $1.2 billion for AT&T’s (T.N) anime streaming service Crunchyroll, although that deal may be facing regulatory concerns. At $440 million, Kakao is paying an eye-watering 22 times trailing sales for Radish. Some of these new content deals will end up shelved in the financial fantasy section. (By Sharon Lam)

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Earlier in Capital Calls:

Wynn bets too much on SPAC read more

Sabers down for Project JEDI read more

Italy dynasty coughs up for road buyout read more

French music IPO hits a minor key read more

Fintech will have to do trustbusters’ job on banks read more

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