Wednesday, April 13, 2005


HatTip to Doug at Xfiniti. Buzz in Korea is that Yahoo! Korea is looking to takeover NHN Corp., which owns and Hangame. is a leading portal with the leading search service in Korea, and Hangame is the leading casual online gaming company in the world. If successful, these properties would catapult Yahoo! Korea to the top spot in the Korean market where it has been lagging behind. I heard before Google and Yahoo! were interested in NHN, but this is the first big buzz that has come into the spotlight.

Yahoo Korea, the country's third-largest Internet search company, is likely to take over NHN, according to domestic brokerages.

Daishin Securities analyst Kang Lok-hee said Tuesday that Yahoo Korea will swallow NHN, which operates the Naver search engine and Hangame site, to regain its past glory.

Yahoo started operations here in 1997 and gained early success based on its prowess in search solutions. But the firm began losing its foothold after it failed to catch onto the new trends in Korea.

"Market consensus is that the eventual target of Yahoo's merger and acquisition (M&A) attempt will be NHN. Yahoo might move soon," Kang said.

In fact, M&A rumors have flared up due to Yahoo Korea itself after its newly installed chief operating officer Seong Nak-yang, an M&A expert, raised the issue.

During a press conference last month, Seong said Yahoo Korea will leapfrog bigger rivals with strong investment this year and M&A is an option toward that end.

He presented two criteria for the merger: the amalgamation should strengthen the core business of Yahoo Korea and it should be big enough to change the shape of the Internet industry.

Daishin's Kang claimed Seong hinted back then that Yahoo Korea is gunning for NHN among three candidates, NHN, Daum and SK Communications, which are big enough to help Yahoo change the industry as a whole.
(full article)

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