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BlackRock emerges as Kakao’s 5th-largest shareholder

(Courtesy of Kakao Friends)
(Courtesy of Kakao Friends)
US-based international investment manager BlackRock became a blockholder of South Korea’s internet giant Kakao, in an apparent bet on the corporation behind Korea’s most popular messenger app, a filing showed Friday.

The US investor’s subsidiary BlackRock Fund Advisors and its 13 affiliates have spent 986.4 billion won ($891.9 million) to obtain 5.18 percent of common shares in Kakao as of Monday, according to the filing.

As a result, BlackRock is expected to become the fifth-largest shareholder of Kakao, following Kakao founder and Chairman Kim Beom-su, venture capital house K Cube Holdings that Kim wholly controls, the National Pension Service and Chinese internet giant Tencent.

BlackRock said in the filing that it does not intend to influence Kakao’s management through its equity ownership.

Under the Korean commercial rule, a shareholder of a listed company in Korea with at least 5 percent of ownership need to file a report on its equity holdings on a regular basis, and state whether the equity holding is meant to engage in the company’s business management.

Kakao logged a 120.5 percent on-year jump in operating profit in 2020 to 456 billion won. Its revenue for 2020 came to 4.1 trillion won, up 35 percent from a year prior. Among its subsidiaries gearing up for an initial public offering are internet-only lender Kakao Bank, mobile payment app operator Kakao Pay, content provider Kakao Page and ride-hailing app operator Kakao Mobility.

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