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Kakao denies plan to purchase T Store

Kakao denies plan to purchase T Store

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Published : 2013-12-09 20:02
Updated : 2013-12-09 20:42

Kakao Corp., the operator of Korea’s largest mobile messenger Kakao Talk by subscriber base, denied news reports that the firm has considered acquiring the mobile application market T Store.

“Kakao has not even discussed an acquisition plan for T Store. There is little chance of the purchase happening,” said Lee Sir-goo, co-CEO of Kakao Group.

Kakao officials echoed Lee’s statement. “Even though the deal sounds attractive, the news of the acquisition is groundless,” said an official from the messenger firm.

SK Planet, the operator of the smartphone app store, also dismissed the report as untrue.

“T Store is one of our core businesses along with the navigation service T Map and online open market 11st,” said an official from SK Planet, adding, “It is an absurd idea that we would sell such an important business to another firm.”

Kakao is expected to rake in around 200 billion won ($190 million) in revenue this year on the back of success in mobile game services on Kakao Talk.

The sales figure is similar to the revenue earned last year by SK Communications, the third-largest Internet portal operator and sister firm of SK Planet.

Stock brokers and some media organizations in Korea have expected that the mobile messenger company was planning to issue an initial public offering as early as next year.

Kakao admitted that issuing an IPO is one business plan on the table, but said “nothing is set in stone.”

Market watchers said the messenger firm seems to be concerned about restraints and delay in decision making caused by the IPO since going public means the firm has to satisfy the needs of various interested parties.

T Store, the world’s third-largest application market with 20 million subscribers, was launched in 2009.

SK Planet, a subsidiary of SK Telecom, is expected to record 1.1 trillion won in revenue this year. The proportion of sales made through its application store is not known.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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