Kakao Mobility restarts process to pick IPO underwriters Mobility unit of Korean platform giant Kakao aims to go public next year
이 기사는 2021년 11월 26일 08:19 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.Kakao Mobility, the mobility unit of South Korea’s platform giant Kakao Corp, has restarted a process to select underwriters for an initial public offering next year, about three months after political and public criticism over its aggressive expansion put a halt to the process.
A request for proposals was sent earlier this week to the country’s major securities firms and some mid-sized ones, according to industry sources. The deadline for proposals is November 26, with presentations by each firm expected to follow soon.
The move comes after Kakao Mobility’s IPO process was postponed in August amid growing criticism that its rapid pace of expansion could hurt small business owners. Although the process had been officially halted, Kakao Mobility is said to have continued preparations for the IPO internally over the last three months.
Kakao Mobility promised its financial investors in 2017 that it would complete a listing by 2022. With just about a year to go until the deadline, Kakao Mobility presumably wants to finish the process of selecting underwriters as soon as possible.
The successful listing of Kakao Pay – which made its 1.53 trillion won ($1.3 billion) stock market debut earlier this month – also gave confidence to the mobility services company that investor appetite will not be affected much by tightened regulatory scrutiny on Kakao’s affiliates.
This was the reason that many of the country’s securities firms have continued to pay attention to Kakao Mobility in the past three months in anticipation of the relaunch of its IPO. Especially, some major securities houses that were excluded from the earlier IPOs of Kakao Bank and Kakao Pay because of conflicts of interest are eager to strengthen a relationship with Kakao Group by winning the lead advisory role for the offering.
Kakao Mobility, valued at between 8 trillion won and 9 trillion won in the over-the-counter market, is estimated to be valued in the IPO at between 6 trillion won and 7 trillion won.
A focus on equity story
Kakao Mobility stopped its premium taxi-hailing service, Smart Call, in September following a strong backlash from the public and the taxi industry. With an absence of the service – which was considered an important pillar of Kakao Mobility’s growth strategy – how each firm presents the company’s mid to long-term growth roadmap will be one of the deciding factors in the competition.
Kakao Mobility is said to have asked securities houses to focus on Mobility-as-a-Service, known as MaaS, as its future growth driver. Growth through acquisitions, its usual strategy to get the upper hand in the mobility market, also needs to be included in the growth roadmap.
Kakao Group’s coexistence plans are likely to be integrated into Kakao Mobility’s growth strategy in the long term as well considering the need to improve its uneasy relationship with the taxi industry. (Reporting by Seok-cheol Choi)
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