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Webtoon: Comics website valued at $2.7bn ahead of US market debut

Webtoon Entertainment, which describes itself as the world’s largest web comic platform, has set its market value at $2.67bn (£2.11bn) ahead of its US listing.

Its shares are due to start trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on 27 June at $21 each, the top end of their marketed range.

The Los Angeles-based company is owned by South Korean technology giant Naver, which has been boosted by the growing online popularity of Korean and Japanese comics.

Webtoon says it has 170 million monthly active users in more than 150 countries around the world.

The company is aiming to sell 15 million shares and raise $315m in the initial public offering (IPO).

The world’s largest fund manager BlackRock has expressed interest in buying up to $50m of shares.

Webtoon Entertainment also owns the Japanese web comic and manga app Line Manga, the web novel platform Wattpad and the Korean web comic offering Naver Webtoon.

It offers thousands of titles covering different genres – including action, romance, horror and science fiction.

The webtoon industry, which focuses on online-only comics optimised for reading on mobile, first emerged in South Korea two decades ago.

Their popularity exploded globally turning them into a major South Korean cultural phenomenon alongside K-pop and Korean dramas.

Webtoons are cheap to produce – a single artist can create one using a tablet – which can make popular comics very profitable.

The webtoon industry made $4.7bn 2021 and is projected to grow to $60.1bn by 2030, according to Spherical Insights & Consulting.

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