Wattpad, the free publishing app that boasts 90 million readers worldwide, has been bought up by Naver, the South Korean Internet Conglomerate who also owns Webtoon, the digital comics app arguably the world's most successful comics publisher. Webtoon has over 72 million monthly users worldwide.
On Tuesday, Deadline reported that Wattpad's Board of Directors of Wattpad announced that it unanimously approved a definitive agreement to be acquired by Naver. Naver is expected to acquire the storytelling platform in a cash and stock transaction valued at more than an estimated US$600 million, subject to customary adjustments and other terms.
The sale will allow Wattpad to continue its international growth and success. Wattpad will continue to maintain its head office in Canada under the continued leadership of founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen.
Naver owns a huge portfolio of search, e-commerce, communications, social networking, and a vast array of content entertainment services and brands, including Webtoon as well as Smart Stores, N Pay, Line, Band, V Live, Snow, and others.
"Co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, and the entire team at Wattpad, have created something special, and we are grateful to have Allen and Ivan continue to lead this fantastic company for us post-acquisition," said Seong-Sook Han, CEO of Naver. "Wattpad's vision to entertain and connect the world through stories fits perfectly with our vision for Webtoon and Naver's content brand. We're thrilled to have them join the Naver family."
"When we started Wattpad in 2006, we understood that technology would democratize storytelling and that stories are the atomic unit of every type of entertainment," said Allen Lau, CEO & co-founder, Wattpad. "In 2021, when every form of entertainment is being transformed, we've built a platform that can fuel hits on-screen and bookshelves, empowering and rewarding a new generation of diverse creators all over the world."
Lau added, "Today's news is about continuing Wattpad's journey and taking our business to the next level. We're thrilled about the prospect of joining the amazing teams at Naver and Webtoon to continue our growth, help more writers make money, and bring new voices to screens and bookstores everywhere."
Wattpad has more than 5 million writers publishing their stories on the site and app in genres that include romance, fantasy, horror, Science Fiction, and comedy. In November, Webtoon launched Webtoon Studios, which has worked with The Jim Henson Company, Crunchyroll, and Vertigo Entertainment.
Wattpad and Webtoon have both seen their content adapted into film and TV series. The After stories began as Harry Styles fanfiction on Wattpad and became a bestselling multiple book series and became the recent movie After We Collided. The Kissing Booth also began as a serial on Wattpad and became one of the defining teen romantic comedies on Netflix that established the streamer as the new home of teen romantic comedies. Horror comic webtoon Sweet Home recently premiered as a live-action TV series on Netflix and the teen romantic drama True Beauty also became a live-action K-drama. Crunchyroll recently adapted webtoons Tower of God, Noblesse, and God of High School into anime.
With the world's most successful fiction publisher and the world's most successful comic publisher under one corporate roof, we can probably expect some kind of synergy between them.