Asia Digest: Saudi wealth fund may invest in Kakao arm; Laundrygo bags $37m

Asia Digest: Saudi wealth fund may invest in Kakao arm; Laundrygo bags $37m

Kakao Games

Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund is said to be planning a large-scale investment in Kakao Group’s entertainment unit, while SoftBank-backed Laundrygo has reportedly closed a $37-million Series C funding round.

Saudi wealth fund in talks with GIC

Shares of Kakao Group got a much-needed boost following reports that Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund is planning a large-scale investment in the South Korean internet giant’s entertainment unit, reported Bloomberg news.

The Public Investment Fund is in talks with Singapore’s GIC Pte Ltd to jointly fund up to 800 billion won ($591 million) ahead of Kakao Entertainment Corp’s initial public offering due next year, Maeil Business Newspaper reported Tuesday evening, citing unidentified people in the banking industry.

The talks follow Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s much-hyped visit to Seoul last week, which produced a raft of investment deals for Korean conglomerates worth $30 billion, according to local media. “We are reviewing various options for pre-IPO, but nothing has been decided,” a spokesperson at Kakao Entertainment said.

SoftBank invests in Laundrygo’s Series C

Laundrygo has closed a $37-million (49.5 billion KRW) Series C funding round led by private equity firm H&Q Korea, with participation from returning investors SoftBank Ventures, Altos Ventures, and Aju IB, according to TechCrunch.

New investors such as KB Securities, Hanwha Securities, Badgers Investment, and Pebbles Investment and strategic investor Musinsa, a Korean fashion platform, also participated in the round.

Laundrygo also has plans to expand geographically. While it just opened its 100th laundromat in South Korea, it intends to open its first laundromat, Laundry24, in New York as early as next year. It is also weighing a move into Japan.

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