Kakao Entertainment lands $966M from sovereign wealth funds, including Saudi Arabia's PIF

Kakao Entertainment announced today it has raised $966 million (1.2 trillion won) in financing from sovereign wealth funds, such as Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Singapore-based PWARP Investment. The entertainment subsidiary of South Korean internet giant Kakao operates storytelling platforms (web novels and webtoons), music streaming, K-pop artists management, and other media (movie and TV series) businesses at home and abroad.

With the latest funding, says the company, it plans to further push ahead with its international expansion and make more investments and acquisitions.

The outfit, which has built a webtoon platform in the U.S. and South Korea, aims to extend its storytelling content and intellectual property sources for its readers around the globe, but in its statement about the funding round, it stressed its growth strategy in North America in particular. In 2021, for example, Kakao Entertainment acquired U.S-based storytelling platforms such as Tapas, a webtoon platform; Radish, a serial fiction app; and Wuxiaworld, a fantasy fiction platform.

The company claims it has 100,000 storytelling creators and plans to seek opportunities to turn popular webtoons or web novels into movies or TV series.

Kakao Entertainment was founded in March 2021 by merging Kakao Page and Kakao M and has now raised a total of $1.2 billion (1.53 trillion won) with the latest money.

Kakao's chief investment officer Jae-hyun Bae said in a statement that it's significant that the company was able to raise this scale of funding amid global economic uncertainties. "This is a testament to the global competitiveness and future growth of potential of Kakao Entertainment's unique intellectual property (IP) value chain, which spans multiple categories in the entertainment industry," Bae said.