Korean media giant, Kakao Entertainment, is set to buy Tapas, a U.S.-based webtoon company, in a deal worth 510 million USD. Kakao became a Tapas stakeholder in November of 2020. The sale is pending government approval.
Tapas is one the leading webtoon publishers in North America, with over 63 thousand creators. Korean entrepreneur, Chang Kim, founded the website in 2012. Tapas lists both comics and novels, however, the majority of the content are webtoons. The company headquarters is currently in Los Angeles, with offices in Seoul and Beijing. Among their most popular titles is the web novel The Beginning After the End, with over 12 million views. The series by TurtleMe also has a webtoon adaptation.
Kakao Entertainment, a South Korean-based company, is already a big player in the webtoon and web novel industry. The acquisition of Tapas will further establish their presence in the west. Additionally, it will put them a step ahead in a fight to win over the global market.
Tapas has over 91 thousand series, with over 1.6 million episodes. According to the fact-sheet on their website, users spend an average of 40 minutes a day on their app. The app is available on all major platforms.
Webtoons and web novels are becoming increasingly popular all over the world. They are suited for reading on phones, with freemium systems in place, where fans pay to unlock the latest content while having access to older episodes/chapters for free. Anime and live-action adaptations of webtoons are also becoming the new norm.
Naver Webtoon is leading in the field, with its Webtoon Studios. Kakao Entertainment’s acquisition of Tapas will certainly reignite the battle for the market, as two big companies fight to win over the audience.