KakaoTalk is likely to be listed on the KOSDAQ as early as the first half of next year. The company’s listing is expected to have a symbolic meaning in that the KOSDAQ is trying to become a technology stock market.
On November 12, a senior official at the Korea Exchange (KRX) confirmed, “KakaoTalk will go public on the KOSDAQ in the first half of 2014.”
So far, the KRX has made an effort to attract the Korean company as part of a strategy to change the KOSDAQ, the secondary stock market in Korea, to become a tech stock market like NASDAQ. It is due to the fact that the instant messenger app for smartphones can truly represent tech stocks, since it became a ubiquitous part of Koreans’ daily lives based on ideas and technologies.
KRX officials contacted the tech company using unofficial channels to persuade its listing, but the company itself did not show much interest. However, the firm seems to have changed its mind.
It was reported that the Employee Shareholders Association of KakaoTalk recently sold company shares worth 20 billion won (US$18.7 million). About 25,000 stocks that once belonged to workers were sold at 79,560 won (US$74.56) per share through Samsung Securities. Thus, the deals raised expectations that the firm will eventually go public so that investors can liquidate their stocks.
A spokesperson for Kakao, however, commented that "Kakao currently has no plans of going public."