Mobile giant Kakao named large biz group

Mobile giant Kakao named large biz group

Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea‘s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, has been included in a government list of large business groups whose mutual investments and loan guarantees will face restrictions, the Fair Trade Commission said Friday.

The FTC said Kakao’s total assets surpassed the 5-trillion-won level following its takeover of music streaming and download service provider Melon in January.

Every year, the antitrust agency announces an updated list of large business groups with assets of 5 trillion won ($4.34 billion) or more to monitor their equity investments or interaffiliate loan guarantees.

Kakao, which has businesses ranging from a mobile chat application and online portal site to a mobile-based taxi-booking service, was listed for the first time.

On this year‘s list the FTC added six companies while deleting two to raise the total number to 65.

The aggregate value of the 65 business groups stood at 2,337 trillion won, up 79 trillion won over the previous year. Seven business groups including Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group posted respective assets of 100 trillion won or over, the FTC said.

The average debt ratio of the 65 business groups stood at 98.2 percent, down 2.9 percentage points from a year ago, with Korea Railroad Corp.‘s ratio falling the most.

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