South Korea’s Kakaotalk discussing acquisition of Path: Report

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South Korea’s Kakaotalk is in discussions with social networking application Path regarding the trade-sale of Path Classic to KakaoTalk,

With unknown terms, the potential acquisition would grant KakaoTalk’s parent company Daum Kakao a major foothold in Indonesia, where Path is a leading social app, according to a report from Re/code,

Currently, Path has 30 million active users, the majority of whom live in Indonesia. Divesting itself of Path Classic would benefit Path, extracting it from an unwieldy position. Based in San Francisco, its app never gained traction in the United States but saw significant adoption in Indonesia, with a user base that’s proven difficult to monetise.

The messaging app competitive landscape often sees competitors dominating on a geographic, country-by-country basis. KakaoTalk is the market leader in South Korea. The rest of the Asia Pacific (APAC) sees Line leading in Japan and much of Southeast Asia. WeChat dominates in China, helped by the digital firewall that protects them from international competition. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is the global market leader in this space, with 800 million active users as of April 2015.

Sources familiar with the conversations say Path, which has raised $77 million across five funding rounds, including a Series C round in January 2014 led by Bakrie Global Group, would continue to operate independently after selling off the social networking app. It’s recent products have led it to pivoting and serving as an app studio, with products like a messaging app and selfie app available only to US users – an indicator of its primary market.

According to the sources quoted in the Re/Code report,  KakaoTalk and Line have invested heavily in marketing to grow Indonesian market share. The largest economy and country by population in Southeast Asia, it represents a market of 250 million people, many of whom are highly active on mobile apps and social media.

Divesting from Path Classic would generate a return to Path’s investors, many of them significant Silicon Valley investment brands like Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.