Wattpad, a Toronto-based online platform for writing and sharing stories, will be sold to South Korean internet company Naver in a $600 million USD (roughly $763.24 million) deal.
The company announced that its board of directors unanimously approved a cash and stock transaction on Tuesday. Naver will acquire Wattpad later this year, with the acquisition expected to close in the second quarter of Wattpad’s fiscal year. The purchase will be subject to regulatory approvals, and Wattpad will keep its Canadian headquarters.
CBC News reports that Naver owns the digital comics platform Webtoon, which Wattpad’s co-founder Lau Yuen told the publication that that made it an ideal partner. Webtoon is behind some large webcomics, including Lore Olympus. Additionally, it worked with the Jim Henson Company and producers behind popular films like The Lego Movie, It and Snowpiercer.
Lau told CBC News that Naver will help Wattpad get into animation and grow beyond the 90 million users it currently has. Of that 90 million, there are more than five million writers. Webtoon has 72 million monthly active users.
Back in 2019, Wattpad told MobileSyrup it was working with several studios on developing more visual media based on popular stories published on the platform. It sounds like the Naver acquisition will help Wattpad to that end, especially for story content that could work well in an animated format.
Source: CBC News