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Korea’s Kakao Bank Seeks As Much as $2.3 Billion in IPO

Kakao Bank, the internet-only lender backed by South Korea’s Kakao Corp., is planning to raise as much as $2.3 billion in an initial public offering, joining a rush by the nation’s companies to sell shares.

The bank is selling 65.45 million new shares at between 33,000 won and 39,000 won apiece, according to a filing Monday. At the top end of the range, the company would raise 2.55 trillion won and have a market capitalization of more than $16 billion, based on the total outstanding stock after the debut. The listing could make Kakao Bank the third most valuable lender in Korea, after KB Financial Group Inc. and Shinhan Financial Group Co.

It’s the latest listing by South Korean corporates, following the debut of online retailer Coupang Inc. in New York as well as a proposed float by Krafton Inc. Kakao, which has been pushing for listings of its affiliates, listed Kakao Games last September, while Kakao Pay is also planning an IPO this year. Kakao Mobility and Kakao Entertainment are also considering listings.null

Kakao Bank was formed in 2016 after the Korean government offered online-banking permits for the first time in 2015. The bank has benefited from its parent company’s Kakao Talk, the nation’s largest mobile messenger service with 46 million active users out of a population of about 51 million.SOUTH KOREAN BANKSMARKET CAPITALIZATIONKB Financial$21.1 billionShinhan Financial$19 billionKakao Bank$13.9 billion-$16.3 billion (based on IPO offer range)Hana Financial$12.6 billionWoori Financial$7.6 billion

Source: Bloomberg