Wattpad to Be Acquired for $600M by Naver, Parent Company of Webtoon

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Wattpad, the user-generated fiction platform and leisure firm, introduced that it agreed to be acquired by Korean web conglomerate Naver, mother or father of digital comics platform Webtoon, in a deal price greater than $600 million.

Seoul-based Naver plans to purchase Wattpad in a money and inventory transaction valued at greater than $600 million, topic to customary changes and different phrases, the businesses introduced. The deal is anticipated to shut in Q2 2021.

Below the phrases of the deal, Wattpad will stay based mostly in Toronto, Canada, underneath the continued management of its co-founders, CEO Allen Lau and chief technique officer Ivan Yuen. The businesses stated the deal will “align” Wattpad’s consumer base of greater than 90 million — which incorporates greater than 5 million writers — with Naver’s Webtoon, which averages 72 million month-to-month lively customers.

Wattpad says its international neighborhood spends greater than 23 billion minutes month-to-month engaged with unique tales spanning genres together with sci-fi, romance, fantasy and horror. To this point, round 1,500 Wattpad tales have been printed as books or tailored for TV and movie. The corporate’s Wattpad Studios division has developed TV exhibits and movies with studios like Sony Footage Tv, Picturestart within the U.S., Germany’s Bavaria Fiction, France’s Mediawan, Brazil’s Sensible Leisure, Canada’s CBC and Singapore’s MediaCorp. In 2019, Wattpad launched Wattpad Books, which has printed 21 books to date.

Wattpad Studios has greater than 50 TV and movie adaption tasks in improvement worldwide, together with Jessica Cunsolo’s “She’s With Me,” arrange as a sequence with Sony Footage Tv; DeAnna Cameron’s “What Occurred That Evening,” which is being tailored by Oscar-nominated “Kids of Males” screenwriter David Arata; T.L. Bodine’s “The Hound,” which is being scripted by Angela LaManna (Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor”); and “Float,” a film based mostly on Kate Marchant’s widespread Wattpad teen-romance story, starring Robbie Amell (“Add”), who can be set to produce. It’s set to be coproduced with Collective Footage (previously Colony Footage), which was behind Netflix’s “Code 8.”

Webtoon, whose webcomics embrace Rachel Smythe’s “Lore Olympus,” additionally has a studio division that has labored to adapt unique mental property in partnerships with the Jim Henson Company; Crunchyroll; Vertigo Leisure, the manufacturing firm behind the “It” franchise and “The Lego Film”; and Certain Leisure, the worldwide studio led by producer Samuel Ha (“Snowpiercer,” “Okja”).

“Co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, and your complete crew at Wattpad, have created one thing particular, and we’re grateful to have Allen and Ivan proceed to lead this incredible firm for us post-acquisition,” Naver CEO Seong-Sook Han stated in asserting the deal. She added, “Wattpad’s imaginative and prescient to entertain and join the world by way of tales suits completely with our imaginative and prescient for Webtoon and Naver’s content material model.”

Wattpad was based in 2006, based mostly on the concept “know-how would democratize storytelling and that tales are the atomic unit of each kind of leisure,” Wattpad’s Lau stated in an announcement. “At the moment’s information is about persevering with Wattpad’s journey and taking our enterprise to the following degree. We’re thrilled in regards to the prospect of becoming a member of the wonderful groups at Naver and Webtoon to proceed our progress, assist extra writers become profitable, and convey new voices to screens and bookstores in every single place.”

Wattpad beforehand raised $117.8 million from buyers in Asia, the U.S. and Canada. The corporate’s newest spherical was $51 million in 2018 from Tencent Holdings, BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, Canso, and Raine Ventures. Earlier buyers embrace OMERS Ventures, August Capital, Union Sq. Ventures, Golden Enterprise Companions, Khosla Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Northleaf Enterprise Catalyst Fund and Model One Ventures.

Naver, based in 1999, operates Korea’s No.1 search engine and largest e-commerce platform and owns different companies and types together with Webtoon, Japan’s Line messaging app and the Snow video app.

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