According to related sources on February 3, the Berjaya Group in Malaysia bought a 0.4 percent stake of Kakaotalk at 90,000 won (US$83.04) per share. Taking that trade into account, and the total number of shares amounting to 11 billion, one can draw the conclusion that Kakaotalk’s evaluation is at 2.35 trillion won (US$2.2 billion).
90,000 won (US$83) per share is 180 times Kakotalk’s current share face value of 500 won (US$0.46) per share, and reflects an 80 percent increase from 2013 and a 9-fold increase from 2012.
Apparently the Berjaya Group has been biding its time and watching Kakaotalk closely, as it snatched up all of the off-board market shares released by Kakaotalk’s employees once they came on the market.
In September 2011 and April 2012, Kakaotalk issued convertible preferred stocks at 10,000 won (US$9.23) and 20,000 won (US$18.45). Since then, its business model has begun to take shape, and the shares started moving up the curve. In February in 2013, stock was valued at 50,000 won (US$46.13) per share.
The increase of Kakaotalk’s off-board market shares stems from the anticipation of next year’s IPO. Financial industry sources are predicting that the company will yield revenue of 190 billion won (US$175.3 million) and net profits of 40 billion won (US$36.0 million) once 2013’s figures are released.
Based on Berjaya Group’s valuation, Kakaotalk Founder and Chairman Kim Bum-soo’s 55.4 percent stake in the company is reportedly estimated at 1.3 trillion won (US$1.2 billion). It is also estimated at Kakaotalk’s employee stock options total 380 billion won (US$351 million).
The Berjaya Group has 60 subsidiaries under its umbrella, with interests in a wide array of industries such as food, resort, automobiles, and real estate. Kakaotalk’s partner in Malaysia, social gaming site Friendster, is also Berjaya Group’s subsidiary, and Berjaya CEO Vincent Tan Chee Yioun is reportedly interested in Kakaotalk’s business model.