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Naver buys Wattpad for $600m

Wattpad co-founders Allen Lau (left) and Ivan Yuen

Naver, the South Korean internet conglomerate that owns digital comics platform Webtoon, has completed its acquisition of Canada-based digital storytelling platform Wattpad.

The US$600m deal, which was announced early this year, aligns Wattpad with Webtoon, with the aim of bringing more new, diverse voices to screens and bookstores around the world.

Wattpad will remain headquartered in Canada under the continued leadership of co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. Lau, who is also CEO, will report to Webtoon CEO Jun Koo Kim.

As part of Naver, Wattpad will focus on continued growth and innovation, expanding its teams and developing new initiatives to reward writers on the platform.

It aims to grow its teams by nearly 50% in 2021, adding close to 100 new roles in engineering, marketing, content and other parts of the company.

Wattpad was set up in 2006 as a platform for writers to publish literary works, with many stories since being picked up for TV and film. It has a global community of more than 90 million people, including five million writers who have written more than one billion uploads on the site.

The platform’s production division, Wattpad Studios, currently has 90 TV and film projects in development with partners around the world, including an upcoming Netflix original film with Nostromo Pictures, A Través de mi Ventana, based on Ariana Godoy’s Wattpad story of the same name.

Together with Webtoon’s monthly average of 76 million users around the world, the pair will reach a combined global monthly audience of 166 million people.

Seong-Sook Han, CEO of Naver, said: “Through this acquisition, it is expected that the synergy between Webtoon and Wattpad will be even greater. Gen Zs around the world have fallen in love with storytelling platforms like Wattpad and Webtoon.”

Wattpad’s Lau added: “We founded Wattpad with a vision to entertain and connect the world through stories. By joining the Naver family of companies, we’re continuing that vision, with more resources and expertise to grow our global community and help writers everywhere achieve their dreams.

“Alongside Naver and Webtoon, we’re positioned for faster growth and continued innovation to support writers and transform publishing and entertainment around the world.”


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