By Kim Jae-heun
Local IT giant Kakao is merging and acquiring entertainment firms both here and abroad to expand its business into the global market.
In March, Kakao took over two Thai companies, Studio Phoenix and Studio Orange, in order to run its content and commerce businesses in the Southeast Asian region, centered in Thailand.
“Studio Phoenix and Studio Orange were incorporated into Kakao Entertainment Asia, which was established to expand its entertainment business, on Feb. 25,” a Kakao Entertainment official said. “Kakao has acquired these two companies with the aim of starting music, video and commerce businesses in Southeast Asian countries.”
Kakao did not reveal the acquisition cost or how many shares it had purchased in the two companies.
Its investment in Thailand is seen as part of its road map to become a global content player, a goal it announced when it launched Kakao Entertainment in March. The entertainment firm promised to invest actively in entertainment and intellectual property.
In fact, also in Thailand on Monday, Kakao started a webtoon business, forecasting direct competition with fellow Korean IT competitor Naver there.
In Korea last month, Kakao also took over entertainment firm High Up Entertainment, which is the agency for K-pop girl group STAYC. It acquired 40 percent of High Up Entertainment to become its largest shareholder.
Kakao Entertainment said it invested in High Up Entertainment in order to beef up its portfolio, along with its merger in April with Antenna Music, led by singer-songwriter Yoo Hee-yeol.
Kakao plans to create synergy with the two firms to produce reality shows and TV series on Kakao TV, its streaming platform.
“We’ve strengthened our music entertainment business and this will provide a chance for our musicians to collaborate with each other,” the official added.