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Kakao eyes backdoor listing by combining with Daum

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 26, 2014 at 2:50 am •  Published: May 26, 2014

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Mobile messenger service Kakao Talk is seeking a backdoor listing on the South Korean stock exchange by combining with the country's second largest Internet portal.

Kakao Corp. and stock exchange-listed Daum Communications Corp. said Monday that Kakao shareholders will get 1.556 Daum shares for each Kakao share they own.

If the deal gets approval from a meeting of shareholders in August, shares in the new entity called Daum Kakao will start trading in October. Kakao's founder Brian Kim will be the largest shareholder in the new entity. Its market capitalization is expected to be more than 3 trillion won ($2.9 billion).

The deal is the latest in series of mergers and acquisitions in the mobile messenger app market. Earlier this year, Facebook announced a takeover of WhatsApp for $19 billion and Japan's Rakuten said it will buy Viber for $900 million.

Kakao Talk is South Korea's most popular mobile messaging service for smartphones. But it has struggled in overseas markets dominated by other mobile apps such as WhatsApp, Line and WeChat.

Daum's web portal has been a perennial runner-up to Naver, which dominates the South Korea's Internet market. Its mobile Internet services, such as a messenger app, have been unpopular.

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