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Naver to acquire 15% stake in Cafe24 in e-commerce push

Logos of Naver (top) and Cafe24
Logos of Naver (top) and Cafe24
South Korean internet giant Naver is poised to acquire a 15 percent stake in e-commerce solutions provider Cafe24 for 137.2 billion won ($119.4 million), filings showed Tuesday.

Cafe24 plans to issue 3.3 million ordinary shares for the third-party rights offering to invite Naver as its new shareholder, according to filings submitted to the Financial Supervisory Service.

In turn, Naver looks to acquire the stake by contributing its 310,300 treasury shares in kind, whose valuation matches newly-issued Cafe24 shares. As a result, Cafe24 will become a minority shareholder of Naver with 0.2 percent ownership.

The payment in-kind is set to complete on Aug. 19. The Cafe24 shares owned by Naver will be subject to a one-year lockup period.

The transaction is meant to forge strategic ties between the two companies and give Naver the rights to name a nonexecutive director of Cafe24‘s boardroom, according to the filings.

Cafe24 said in a statement the bilateral strategic partnership will allow mom-and-pop sellers on Naver‘s online marketplace to take advantage of its e-commerce service, such as online store-building solutions.

The company, in the meantime, denied its stake sales rumor. According to Cafe24, Naver will become a minority shareholder as its executive director Woo Chang-gyun and affiliated persons will remain the largest shareholders with a combined 25.5 percent stake following the rights offering.

Also on Tuesday, Cafe24 posted a first-half operating loss of 3.6 billion won in its preliminary filing. A year prior, the company recorded a 2.4 billion operating profit.

Cafe24’s share price plunged 13.7 percent Tuesday, ending its winning streak for six trading days that pushed its stock price up by nearly 60 percent until Monday. Naver‘s share price edged down 0.2 percent Tuesday.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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