Kakao to buy Korean portal in reverse merger

|By:, SA News Editor

South Korean mobile-messaging service Kakao has agreed to acquire Web portal Daum Communications in a reverse takeover that values Kakao at 3.1T won ($3B) and gives it a listing on the Korea Exchange.

Kakao is on 93% of smartphones in its home country and has 140M users worldwide, although that's well below WhatsApp's 500M.

The deal comes despite Kakao, which is partly owned by Chinese Internet firm Tencent Holdings (TCEHY), planning an IPO for next year.

The transaction is the latest to involve a major messaging service this year, including Facebook buying WhatsApp for $19B.