South Korea’s internet giant Naver Corporation and owner of most popular webtoon publication – WEBTOON, has acquired Canada based global multi-platform entertainment company Wattpad. The Board of Directors of Wattpad, announced its unanimous approval of a definitive agreement to be acquired by Naver recently. Naver is expected to acquire Wattpad in a cash and stock transaction valued at more than an estimated $600 million, subject to customary adjustments and other terms.
The acquisition will allow Wattpad to continue to accelerate its international growth and success. The company will remain headquartered in Canada under the continued leadership of founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. As one of Korea’s largest publicly listed companies and a globally recognized technology powerhouse, Naver offers a world-class portfolio of search, e-commerce, FinTech, communications / social networking, cloud service, content, and entertainment services and brands including Smart Stores, N Pay, WEBTOON, LINE, BAND, V Live, and Snow, among many others.
The move will align Wattpad, and its global community of more than 90 million people, with Naver’s WEBTOON™, a leading digital comics publisher with an average of 72+ million monthly active users. WEBTOON™ is home to some of the biggest names in webcomics, including Lore Olympus, Rachel Smythe’s Eisner Award-nominated series. WEBTOON Studios has worked with The Jim Henson Company; Crunchyroll; Vertigo Entertainment – the production company behind the IT franchise and The Lego Movie; Bound Entertainment – the global studio led by Snowpiercer and Okja producer Samuel Ha.
“Co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, and the entire team at Wattpad, have created something special, and we are grateful to have Allen and Ivan continue to lead this fantastic company for us post-acquisition,” said Seong-Sook Han, CEO of Naver. “Wattpad’s vision to entertain and connect the world through stories fits perfectly with our vision for WEBTOON and Naver’s content brand. We’re thrilled to have them join the Naver family,” she added.
“Wattpad joining WEBTOON under the Naver umbrella is a big step towards us becoming a leading global multimedia entertainment company,” said WEBTOON founder and CEO, Jun Koo Kim. “Both Wattpad and WEBTOON care most about helping creators tell their story their way, and both represent world-leading collections of inspired, imaginative storytelling IP.”
“When we started Wattpad in 2006, we understood that technology would democratize storytelling and that stories are the atomic unit of every type of entertainment,” said Allen Lau, CEO & co-founder, Wattpad. “In 2021, when every form of entertainment is being transformed, we’ve built a platform that can fuel hits on screen and bookshelves, empowering and rewarding a new generation of diverse creators all over the world. Today’s news is about continuing Wattpad’s journey and taking our business to the next level. We’re thrilled about the prospect of joining the amazing teams at Naver and WEBTOON to continue our growth, help more writers make money, and bring new voices to screens and bookstores everywhere.”
Wattpad’s global community reached 90 million people in 2020 — including more than five million writers — who spend over 23 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories ranging from science fiction, to romance, fantasy, horror, and everything in between.