With the intention to reach out to more English-speaking audiences, the Korean internet giant Kakao has entered the US market of storytelling and content with its acquisition of two American content creating companies Tapas Media, a web-comic publisher and Radish Media, a mobile fiction platform for serialized storytelling.
Kakao Entertainment, a subsidiary of Kakao, acquired Tapas in a $510 million cash transaction for 100% of the company, according to an announcement. For Radish Media, Kakao Entertainment is set to extend an official tender offer this month, and the estimated value is $440 million.
Tapas & Radish offer a variety of entertainment content
The LA-based Tapas is a pioneer of mobile webtoon services in the US. It has grown from a startup to a publishing powerhouse by catering to a rising generation of mobile phones using comic fans. Tapas saw a 500% increase in year-over-year revenues in 2020, bringing in more than $2 million per month for its creators. The site’s popular titles such as Magical Boy and The Beginning After the End generate hundreds of millions of page views per month. The company publishes 96,000 original series of comics and prose novels, driving over 8 billion page views.
Kakao Entertainment had acquired a significant stake in Tapas in November 2020 and distributed its popular webtoons, such as A Business Proposal, Space Sweepers, The Uncanny Counter, and Navillera through the Tapas platform. Tapas works with a community of artists with its side of the platform, namely Tapestry and helps creators with webtoon IP development in the US.
Radish is a mobile fiction platform offering the literary equivalent of the addictive TV drama series. It offers a variety of stories optimized for the smartphone users. Readers can access thousands of serials across genres and connect directly with their favorite storytellers in live community chat rooms. Amateur authors can also publish their own original stories via user-submitted content. Radish also produces original content through Radish Originals.
“Tapas and Radish are two amazingly powerful storytelling platforms, and we welcome them into the Kakao Entertainment family with open arms as we rapidly ramp up our global operations,” said Jinsoo Lee, CEO of Kakao Entertainment in a media statement, “The partnership with Tapas and our webtoon IPs has already borne fruit and given us even more confidence in the North American marketplace. Radish gives us the platform to publish our web novels for the first time there, and we see endless potential. With the combination of our expertise in the IP business and Tapas and Radish’s strong North American foothold, we are excited about what we can achieve together.”