Wattpad is set to join the Webtoon brand in a takeover deal by Korean search engine company Naver that values Wattpad at more than $600 million.
Wattpad went up for sale just before Christmas last year.
Naver is the owner of self-publishing online comics platform Webtoon, which has 72 million monthly users. Toronto-based Wattpad has more than five million writers contributing to the site, and had over 90 million users in 2020. Wattpad co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen will continue to lead Wattpad after the acquisition.
Both companies have established links with multimedia creators, including publishers and TV and film studios.
Seong-Sook Han, CEO of Naver, says, ‘Wattpad’s vision to entertain and connect the world through stories fits perfectly with our vision for Webtoon and Naver’s content brand.’
Webtoon founder and CEO Jun Koo Kim says: ‘Wattpad joining Webtoon under the Naver umbrella is a big step towards us becoming a leading global multimedia entertainment company. Both Wattpad and Webtoon care most about helping creators tell their story their way, and both represent world-leading collections of inspired, imaginative storytelling IP.’
Wattpad’s Allen Lau, CEO and cofounder, says, ‘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.’
The acquisition is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2021.
Webtoon offers creators the opportunity to monetize their work with an ad-revenue-sharing program that offers 50% earnings from ads displayed on their series. There is also a Creator Rewards Program where creators are paid an extra $100-$1,000 based on the performance of their series.