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THE INVESTOR
June 12, 2021

Market Now

Kakao shares soar on expectation of its gain from Dunamu’s performance

  • PUBLISHED :March 17, 2021 - 18:21
  • UPDATED :March 17, 2021 - 19:30
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(Courtesy of Kakao Friends)

Kakao, the operator of South Korea‘s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, saw its shares soar on the nation’s Kospi market on March 17, with market watchers predicting that the online giant will see benefit the most from the Bitcoin craze.

Shares of Kakao jumped 2.51 percent to 491,000 won ($433.28) in the early morning trade, falling short by only 28,000 won per share from its 52-week high set on Feb. 16. The stock pared part of earlier gains but maintained the upward movement to reach 483,000 won as of 2:20 p.m.

Local brokerage Mirae Asset Daewoo raised Kakao’s stock price target to 590,000 won per share, up from its prior targeted price of 570,000 won per share, adding the firm would be the main beneficiary from the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Upbit’s business growth.

“Kakao owns about a 23 percent stake directly and indirectly in Upbit’s operator Dunamu,” said Kim Chang-kwon, an analyst at Mirae Asset Daewoo. “Since Upbit has already surpassed its record-high traffic and trading amount set in the fourth quarter of 2017, we expect Kakao to enjoy benefits.”

Based on the proportion of Kakao’s ownership in Dunamu, the mobile platform giant saw profits worth 29 billion won in the last quarter of 2017, the analyst said. If the Bitcoin frenzy continues throughout the year, Kakao’s gain on its investment in Dunamu is likely to exceed 100 billion won this year, he explains.

“When the global cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase makes its market debut on the Nasdaq market, the equity value of Kakao is also likely to be reevaluated.”

Backed by investors’ keen interest, the market value of cryptocurrencies here has shot up nearly 10 times over the past three years. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, hit an all-time high of 71.45 million won per unit Sunday, compared with 4.96 million won marked in October 2017. A single Bitcoin was traded at 64.75 million won on March 17 early afternoon. 

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

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