[THE INVESTOR] Mobile messenger giant Kakao has acquired the entire stake of JOH & Co., a brand consulting firm established by Kakao’s new CEO Joh Su-yong, for 29.3 billion won (US$27.24 million), according to industry sources on March 19.
In a regulatory filing, Kakao said it purchased a 45.5 percent stake, or 400,000 shares, of JOH from its venture capital arm Kakao Investment for 13.3 billion won. According to industry sources, it has also acquired the remaining stake -- which includes 34.09 percent shares held by Joh -- for about 16 billion won.
Kakao CEO Joh Su-yong
Through the purchase, Kakao aims to enhance its brand value and expand its offline businesses by utilizing JOH’s expertise in brand marketing and its various areas other businesses, including media contents, restaurants, retail and more recently, real estate.
On March 16, Kakao has officially named Joh and Yeo Min-soo, former executive vice president of marketing, as its new co-CEOs at the company’s shareholders meeting.
Joh, a graduate of Seoul National University, has led Kakao’s brand design since 2016. Before joining Kakao, he headed JOH & Co. since its establishment in 2010. He is well known for designing Naver’s signature green search window during his tenure at the internet behemoth from 2003 to 2010.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)