SEOUL, South Korea, May 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Kakao Entertainment signed definitive agreements on May 7 to acquire two storytelling platforms based in the U.S., Tapas Media, Inc. (hereafter Tapas) and Radish Media, Inc. (hereafter Radish). The acquisitions pave the way for Kakao Entertainment to expand its original content business in North America and other English-speaking regions. The company has already secured a dominant market share in Japan through its affiliate comic platform Piccoma.
Kakao Entertainment is investing in the two deals to strengthen its fast-growing global webtoons and web novel business. Tapas is a pioneer of mobile storytelling platforms in the U.S., with a solid leadership in webtoons. With this transaction valued at an estimated USD 510 million, Kakao Entertainment obtains a 100% stake in Tapas. Radish is a top-ranked mobile fiction platform and app launched in 2016. With solid backing from Radish’s Board of Directors, Kakao Entertainment is set to extend an official tender offer within May. The concluded transaction will value Radish at an estimated USD 440 million.
Both moves are consistent with Kakao Entertainment’s long-standing partnership with Tapas and Radish.
Kakao Entertainment became a significant stakeholder of Tapas last November and has since been distributing the company’s blockbuster webtoons, such as A Business Proposal, Space Sweepers, The Uncanny Counter, and Navillera through the Tapas platform. This has led to exponential growth at Tapas, with sales increasing fivefold in 2020. Tapas is a magnet for webtoon fans and content creators, alike. Through community side of the platform, namely Tapestry, Tapas works with creators to help nurture future webtoon IP development in the U.S. A prime success story is The Beginning After the End, a Tapas original webtoon exported to multiple content platforms in Korea and Japan. A key source of Radish’s competitive edge is its Radish Original series, an in-house program that takes a collaborative and data-driven approach to create serialized web novel IPs. Radish Original series currently comprise more than 90% of the company’s revenue, with Radish’s sales increasing tenfold in 2020.
"Tapas and Radish are two amazingly powerful storytelling platforms, and we welcome them into the Kakao Entertainment family with open arms as we rapidly ramp up our global operations," said Jinsoo Lee, CEO of Kakao Entertainment. "The partnership with Tapas and our webtoon IPs has already borne fruit and given us even more confidence in the North American marketplace. Radish gives us the platform to publish our web novels for the first time there, and we see endless potential. With the combination of our expertise in the IP business and Tapas and Radish’s strong North American foothold, we are excited about what we can achieve together. Furthermore, Chang Kim and Seungyoon Lee (Founder and CEO of Tapas and Radish, respectively) have already demonstrated exceptional leadership in the US webtoon and web novel marketplace and we could not be more pleased to announce that they will continue to bring their considerable insights and experience under the Kakao Entertainment banner."
Chang Kim and Seungyoon Lee will retain their day-to-day management autonomy and also become Global Strategy Officers within Kakao Entertainment.
"We’re thrilled to join forces with Kakao Entertainment, an entertainment content juggernaut with a massive library of original webtoon IPs, which can be introduced to the US audience through the Tapas platform," said Tapas Media CEO and Founder Chang Kim. "Our team, our unique company culture, and our awesome creator community stay the same while we race ahead with the exact same mission but on a much bigger scale.
"Radish is joining the Kakao Entertainment family, a leader in the story entertainment industry, to take our web novel business to the next level in this ever-evolving industry," said Seungyoon Lee, Radish Founder and CEO. "We are excited about the growth opportunities for Radish, not only expanding our fan base but exploring new business opportunities as well. We will be utilizing Kakao Entertainment’s wide-ranging value chain to further exploit Radish’s original content."
Since its founding, Kakao Entertainment has invested approximately KRW 1.5 trillion to secure competitive web literature IPs, enabling it to build the largest IP library in Korea with over 8,500 original web literature IPs. Through this solid foundation, the company is quickly expanding its global platform network. Beyond Korea, Japan, and North America, Kakao Entertainment will launch its own webtoons platform in Taiwan and Thailand next month, to be followed by moves into China and India in the second half of this year.
About Kakao Entertainment Corp.
Kakao Entertainment Corp. is innovating the full spectrum of the entertainment industry value chain. With a mission to ‘Entertain Different’ through its original content, talent and music portfolio, Kakao Entertainment operates Korea’s most popular mobile content platforms, providing users access to over 80,000 IPs, including the most extensive library of original content in the country. Examples include Solo Leveling, Itaewon Class, The Uncanny Counter, Dr. Brain, and Lovestruck in the City. Talent under management includes over 150 globally beloved Korean celebrities and it also owns six highly sought-after Korean film and TV production studios. The company also leads the Korean music industry with a library of songs that exceeds 60,000, with 1,200 new tracks being released each year. Kakao Entertainment Corp.’s global footprint comprises of Japan, North America, Greater China, Southeast Asia and India, and is expanding rapidly.
About Tapas Media Inc.
Tapas Media, Inc. is a next-generation media company offering bite-sized content through its online mobile platform, Tapas. Tapas Media properties, which consists of the popular Tapas mobile app and Tapas, boasts over 8 billion views to date from more than 8.6M registered users – primarily in North America. Tapas Media provides a best-in-class reading experience for fans of storytelling on mobile devices and on the web, featuring original series – under Studio Tapas, the division dedicated to producing and publishing original webcomics and novels – licensed webcomics, and a successful digital novels division. Tapas have a devoted community side of the platform, Tapastry, which provides a destination for any creator to share their stories and find their audience. Founded in March 2012, Tapas has gathered over 63,000 creators, 96,000 series, and more than 1.6M episodes. Tapas has multiple partnerships across various multimedia platforms including Scholastic, Zoic Studios, Vault Comics, BOOM!, Hachette Book Group, Ten Speed Press (Penguin Random House), Kakao Entertainment, Podium Audio, Frolic Media, Madison Wells, and more. Tapas is the 2020 Ringo Award winner for Favorite Publisher.
About Radish Media Inc.
Radish is a mobile fiction platform for serialized storytelling, offering the literary equivalent of the addictive TV drama series. Its wide variety of stories are published and read in bite-sized installments, optimized for the smartphone reader. Radish is revolutionizing the way that stories are consumed and produced. Readers can access thousands of serials across genres and connect directly with their favorite storytellers in live community chat rooms. Amateur authors can also publish their own original stories via user-submitted content, but Radish also produces Radish Originals, serials in a variety of genres designed specifically for its mobile platform and written by a talented team of Emmy Award-winning soap writers, authors and Radish’s Content Team creators. Built to be both user and author-friendly, Radish strives to present the newest and brightest in entertaining, diverse serial fiction to readers while providing authors with innovative ways to build readerships and monetize their work.