Wattpad sold to South Korean internet giant Naver for US $ 600 million

Toronto-One of Canada’s most prominent tech lovers has been sold to a South Korean internet conglomerate for a $ 600 million deal.

Wattpad Corp, an online storytelling company based in Toronto. Said the board unanimously approved the cash and stock deal on Tuesday and will be acquired by Naver later this year. The company will maintain its Canadian headquarters.

“Today is the most important day in the company’s history and an incredible milestone,” said Allen Lau, one of Wattpad’s co-founders, in an interview.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter and uses TV show terminology. I’m definitely looking forward to this as it’s Season 2 Episode 1.”

After the sale, Wattpad leaders Lau and Ivan Yuen launched a vanity press platform in 2006 after coming up with an idea on a napkin while waiting for a plane at the Vancouver Airport food court.

Wattpad quickly became the home of stories in dozens of genres, as anyone could share texts for free and access it on their mobile phones or tablets.

Anna Todd, a Texas woman, became a popular name around 2013 when she started writing a fan-fiction series “After” about One Direction singer Harry Styles on the platform.

Her story eventually turned into a book and film series, and Wattpad began the book publishing and studio entertainment division.

However, Lau admitted that the sale was not necessarily his plan.

“We weren’t actively looking for sellers, but we were talking to investors to accelerate growth,” he said.

“We knew our neighbors for quite some time, but after a few conversations we realized we had a common vision.”

Naver, who claims to be “Korea’s largest web search engine,” was an ideal partner because he owns Webtoon, a digital comics platform, he said.

Webtoon is behind the big webcomic companies such as “Lore Olympus” and has worked with Jim Henson Company and producers of hit movies such as “The Lego Movie”, “It” franchise and “Snowpiercer”.

According to Lau, Naver will begin animating Wattpad and offer Wattpad the opportunity to grow beyond the 90 million users (including more than 5 million writers). According to Webtoon, the number of monthly active users exceeds 72 million.

“Watpad’s vision of entertaining and connecting the world through stories is in perfect agreement with Webtoon’s vision of content brands and joins the Naver family,” CEO Son Sukhan said in a statement. I’m really excited about it. “

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of Wattpad’s fiscal year and requires regulatory approval.

This is the latest in a series of sales in which a once promising Canadian tech company was robbed by foreign owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ElementAI, a Montreal-based company that creates artificial intelligence solutions for large organizations, signed an agreement in November to be acquired by ServiceNow, a provider of cloud-based workflow technology in Santa Clara, California.

San Francisco-based “buy now, pay later” company Affirm signed a deal to buy Toronto rival PayBright for $ 340 million in early December.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 19, 2020.

Wattpad sold to South Korean internet giant Naver for US $ 600 million

Source link Wattpad sold to South Korean internet giant Naver for US $ 600 million

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