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SKT CEO vows stronger metaverse push with M&As

SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang speaks during a press conference held during CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (SK Telecom)
SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang speaks during a press conference held during CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (SK Telecom)
SK Telecom will push for mergers and acquisitions in the field of metaverse, the telecom firm’s CEO Ryu Young-sang said in an earnings call Wednesday.

The remark comes as SK Telecom, which spun off investment affiliate SK Square, is undergoing a period of transition with new growth drivers, with artificial intelligence and metaverse spearheading the trend under a newly established “Aiverse” division.

“I’d like to make it very clear that SK Telecom will pursue strategic M&A opportunities. ... The first direction is to acquire technology companies for the business such as AI and metaverse,” Ryu said.

Korea’s top mobile carrier has been trying to expand its foothold in the fledgling field, after making inroads with its “ifland” virtual space.

Ryu, who took the top post of the company in November, said SKT is transitioning into a company which “expands time and space for customers with technologies such as AI, metaverse and universe.”

“For our metaverse business, we will act quickly and we will expand our existing strategies and add more intellectual property resources, so that we can create a new growth momentum,” Ryu said.

Metaverse is one of the new growth businesses for SK Telecom, along with subscription-based media, enterprise IT infrastructure and futuristic mobility.

According to Ryu, the new sectors will contribute 36 percent of its revenue in 2025, from 18 percent as of 2021. With this, SK Telecom aims to achieve 23 trillion won ($19.2 billion) in terms of revenue in 2025, from the current 16.7 trillion won.

Ryu added that the company will also seek overseas deals on the premise that the new growth businesses stabilize, as well as acquisitions of developers.

“In terms of pursuing these M&As, our intention is not to do IPO of subsidiaries after M&As but rather combine and integrate the acquired companies into existing businesses of SK Telecom,” Ryu said.

SK Telecom recorded an operating profit of 1.39 trillion won for 2021, up 11.1 percent from a year prior, while its revenue rose 4.1 percent to 16.7 trillion won, a preliminary earnings release showed.

(consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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