Naver Webtoon’s Global Expansion

Naver Webtoon France

The U.S. headquarters of Naver Webtoon, known as WEBTOON Entertainment, is actively expanding its intellectual property (IP) and diversifying its business models (BM) with the aim of listing on the NASDAQ this year. This strategy has led to Naver Webtoon’s first annual profit since its spin-off from Naver in 2017, as reported last year.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been chosen as lead underwriters for WEBTOON Entertainment’s NASDAQ debut, targeting a listing as early as June this year. Bloomberg reports, citing sources, that WEBTOON Entertainment’s corporate value is estimated between $3 billion and $4 billion, with the listing expected to raise up to $500 million.

In 2020, Naver established WEBTOON Entertainment as its global headquarters for the webtoon business, absorbing Naver Webtoon as a subsidiary. Afterward, Naver acquired full ownership of the North American web novel platform Wattpad and a 70% stake in LINE Digital Frontier, operator of LINE Manga in Japan, with Naver Webtoon retaining the remaining 30% stake, effectively granting WEBTOON Entertainment full control.

Naver plans to restructure its governance to allow WEBTOON Entertainment to oversee operations in the United States, Korea, and Japan, aiming to transition into a global content company. This includes pursuing a NASDAQ listing. According to Data.ai, a domestic mobile market research firm, Naver Webtoon holds the top spot in the U.S. webtoon platform market, commanding a market share of 70.5% as of 2022.

The initial public offering of webtoon companies is rare both domestically and internationally. China Literature, a subsidiary of Tencent, closely resembles the business scope of WEBTOON Entertainment. China Literature is China’s largest webtoon and web novel enterprise, operating platforms such as QQ Reading and Qidian.

Korea Investment & Securities researcher Jung Ho-yoon said: “WEBTOON Entertainment’s appropriate corporate valuation ranges between approximately 4.8 trillion to 5.1 trillion won. However, given China Literature’s declining revenue from webtoon and web novel platforms and IP business since 2021, the appeal of WEBTOON Entertainment might be underscored.”


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The post Naver Webtoon’s Global Expansion first appeared on Good e-Reader.

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