Korea Net Large Naver Mulls U.S. Bond, IPO to Tackle Google

(Bloomberg) — One of many few nations on the planet the place Google doesn’t dominate net searches is South Korea, the place Naver Corp. leads the market and can also be a giant participant in e-commerce and fintech. However the Korean firm, which now will get greater than 95% of income domestically, needs to spice


(Bloomberg) — One of many few nations on the planet the place Google doesn’t dominate net searches is South Korea, the place Naver Corp. leads the market and can also be a giant participant in e-commerce and fintech.

However the Korean firm, which now will get greater than 95% of income domestically, needs to spice up its worldwide presence. To assist with that, Naver is contemplating extra greenback bond gross sales after its debut deal final month, and it’s additionally eyeing a attainable future U.S. preliminary public providing for a unit, chief monetary officer Park Sang-jin stated in an interview.

“To develop, it’s inevitable that we go international,” in response to Park, who’s been with the agency because it was based in 1999. “We should always discover enterprise alternatives and meet succesful companions to complement our property.”

Naver rival Coupang Inc.’s U.S. IPO final month was the most important by a Korean agency in additional than a decade. It underscored the drive by firms to develop globally, in addition to traders’ willingness to supply funds for that. Naver has made investments abroad lately together with taking stakes in Spain’s digital market Wallapop and Canada’s Wattpad. Park stated the agency is searching for extra alternatives in Japan, the place its Line messaging service is fashionable, in addition to Europe, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

In North America, Naver is hoping to strengthen its so-called storytelling enterprise by way of its net cartoon unit and web novel platform Wattpad. The unit, Naver Webtoon, doesn’t have quick plans to boost funds for now because it focuses on progress, however it might take into account an inventory if the operation turns into extra stable and acquainted to U.S. traders, Park stated. The corporate moved the unit’s headquarters to Los Angeles from Korea in December final yr.

Shares of NBT Inc., a Seoul-based promoting agency that’s been in a partnership with Naver Webtoon since 2018, jumped on expectations that an IPO by the unit could assist bolster its enterprise. The inventory has risen as a lot as 14.9% Wednesday, essentially the most in about two weeks, even because the Kosdaq index fell.

Extra Bonds

Naver can also be contemplating promoting extra ESG greenback bonds within the close to future after its $500 million deal final month. A lot of the proceeds of that sale will possible be used for an environmentally-friendly information heart that’s scheduled to be accomplished on the finish of 2022 in Sejong, 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of Seoul, in response to Park. The agency could promote offshore bonds regularly sooner or later, he stated.

The corporate, which has a 65% share of South Korea’s search engine market in response to InterAd information, additionally has had internet money positions for years.

“Since we have now loads of money, we used to make investments utilizing money reserves, however now we’re pondering we’d improve leverage if wanted,” Park stated.

(Updates with share transfer of enterprise associate NBT Inc. in sixth paragraph.)

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