XM은(는) 미국 국적의 시민에게 서비스를 제공하지 않습니다.

Online comics IPO will test latest K-wave export



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The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

By Sharon Lam

TORONTO, June 17 (Reuters Breakingviews) -It’s time to test how durable global appetite is for the South Korean cultural export boom. Digital comics firm Webtoon Entertainment is planning to go public in the U.S. on the back of rising international sales, but a decline in its home market and signs of a worldwide slowdown are dragging. The next chapter of this adventure: proving the company has staying power.

South Korea exported a record $13 billion worth of content, including in music, games, film and animation in 2022, surpassing exports of electric vehicles and certain batteries, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The webtoon industry, which consists of online comics and novels serialized in short-form, bite-sized episodes, has caught some of that growth. That’s a fillip for Webtoon Entertainment, which on Monday said it plans to raise as much as $315 million in its upcoming initial public offering. Unlike its parent company, Korean online conglomerate Naver 035420.KS, it is headquartered in Los Angeles. And it has licensed its content for a slew of international games, shows and movies. The comic purveyor says that Webtoon-based TV series “All of Us Are Dead” and “Hellbound” have topped Netflix’s charts.

With around 170 million monthly active users in over 150 countries, the attempt to capture a global audience is working. That’s offsetting a grimmer story in South Korea, though, where sales fell 6% in 2023. The slowdown dragged overall revenue growth to a mere 5% year-over-year in 2024’s first quarter.

Still, a valuation of up to $2.7 billion, based on the company’s targeted share price range, is only a slight premium to Korean peers. If valued on the same multiple of 1.6 times expected sales as companies like KidariStudio 020120.KS and Kakao 035720.KS, owner of competitor KakaoPage, Webtoon would be worth some $2 billion, assuming full-year revenue keeps up the pace of the first quarter. Of course, apply the nearly 7 times multiple won by technology firms, including Pinterest PINS.N, Meta Platforms META.O, and Snap SNAP.N — which Webtoon argues are its competitors — and the company would be worth over $8 billion.

That it didn’t push for an aggressive, tech-like multiple is reassuring. But the international market could be facing the same saturation point reached in South Korea: After wild expansion during the pandemic, broader transaction growth for webtoons globally crashed to single-digits in 2023, according to a Mirae Asset research report. Elsewhere, the K-pop industry is weathering its own slump. Webtoon’s market reception will test whether investors think the company can fight the tide.


Follow @sharonlam_ on X


CONTEXT NEWS

Online comics platform Webtoon Entertainment, owned by Korean company Naver, filed for a U.S. initial public offering on May 31. Revenue grew 5% year-over-year in the three months ended March to around $327 million, while the company posted a net income of $6.2 million, compared to a loss in the year-ago quarter.

According to an updated filing disclosed on June 17, the company is targeting a valuation of up to around $2.7 billion. Webtoon is offering 15 million shares at a price range of $18 to $21 each, and is aiming to raise as much as $315 million.


Webtoon Entertainment depends on global growth https://reut.rs/4c4BBCn


Editing by Jonathan Guilford and Pranav Kiran

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면책조항: XM Group 회사는 체결 전용 서비스와 온라인 거래 플랫폼에 대한 접근을 제공하여, 개인이 웹사이트에서 또는 웹사이트를 통해 이용 가능한 콘텐츠를 보거나 사용할 수 있도록 허용합니다. 이에 대해 변경하거나 확장할 의도는 없습니다. 이러한 접근 및 사용에는 다음 사항이 항상 적용됩니다: (i) 이용 약관, (ii) 위험 경고, (iii) 완전 면책조항. 따라서, 이러한 콘텐츠는 일반적인 정보에 불과합니다. 특히, 온라인 거래 플랫폼의 콘텐츠는 금융 시장에서의 거래에 대한 권유나 제안이 아닙니다. 금융 시장에서의 거래는 자본에 상당한 위험을 수반합니다.

온라인 거래 플랫폼에 공개된 모든 자료는 교육/정보 목적으로만 제공되며, 금융, 투자세 또는 거래 조언 및 권고, 거래 가격 기록, 금융 상품 또는 원치 않는 금융 프로모션의 거래 제안 또는 권유를 포함하지 않으며, 포함해서도 안됩니다.

이 웹사이트에 포함된 모든 의견, 뉴스, 리서치, 분석, 가격, 기타 정보 또는 제3자 사이트에 대한 링크와 같이 XM이 준비하는 콘텐츠 뿐만 아니라, 제3자 콘텐츠는 일반 시장 논평으로서 "현재" 기준으로 제공되며, 투자 조언으로 여겨지지 않습니다. 모든 콘텐츠가 투자 리서치로 해석되는 경우, 투자 리서치의 독립성을 촉진하기 위해 고안된 법적 요건에 따라 콘텐츠가 의도되지 않았으며, 준비되지 않았다는 점을 인지하고 동의해야 합니다. 따라서, 관련 법률 및 규정에 따른 마케팅 커뮤니케이션이라고 간주됩니다. 여기에서 접근할 수 있는 앞서 언급한 정보에 대한 비독립 투자 리서치 및 위험 경고 알림을 읽고, 이해하시기 바랍니다.

리스크 경고: 고객님의 자본이 위험에 노출 될 수 있습니다. 레버리지 상품은 모든 분들에게 적합하지 않을수 있습니다. 당사의 리스크 공시를 참고하시기 바랍니다.