Kakao – the South Korean Internet company – has acquired a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange in an M&A transaction.
Kakao is a South Korean Internet company founded in 2010. It was formed by the merger of Daum Communications and the original Kakao Inc. The company was renamed Daum Kakao in 2014 and rebranded again in 2015, reverting to simply Kakao.
Kakao offers a wide range of services, including those for community, entertainment, fashion, finance, investment, video games, and so on.
A Japan-based branch of South Korean internet and technology behemoth Kakao has acquired a controlling stake in a Japanese crypto exchange, raising the possibility that it will seek to integrate its web-based cartoon output with its crypto services.
According to Yonhap and an official notice on the Sakura Exchange BitCoin website, the trading platform in question, Kakao Piccoma, has become the trading platform’s largest shareholder. Piccoma, Japan’s largest web-based cartoon (webtoon) service provider, is run by a Kakao subsidiary.
The value of the transaction was not disclosed, but Sakura stated that it received a “capital increase through third-party allotment” of shares. The company’s CEO, Hitomi Yamamoto, will remain in charge, but a number of new directors have been hired.
The existing crypto links on Kakao are not insignificant. The firm was an early investor in Upbit, South Korea’s market-leading exchange, and it is still a minority shareholder in the platform. Ground X, the company’s dedicated crypto and blockchain subsidiary, is also responsible for the Klaytn blockchain network.
Meanwhile, a busy month for mergers and acquisitions in the Japanese crypto space appears to be just getting started.