[Japan] LINE Manga Operator, LINE Digital Frontier, Procures JPY 8.6 B from NAVER WEBTOON

2018.07.30 Corporate

● LINE Manga app downloaded over 20 million times

● NAVER WEBTOON is Korea’s top web manga and fiction service provider


TOKYO – July 25, 2018 – LINE Corporation's (“LINE”) wholly owned subsidiary, LINE Digital Frontier Corporation ("LINE Digital Frontier"), and NAVER WEBTOON Corporation ("NAVER WEBTOON"), announce that LINE Digital Frontier will be procuring 8.6 billion yen in funds by way of third-party allocation of new shares to NAVER WEBTOON.


LINE Manga is a digital manga service available through the LINE Manga app that topped 20 million downloads in June.*1 LINE Digital Frontier and NAVER WEBTOON have agreed to enter into a capital alliance to further grow this service. Specifically, NAVER WEBTOON will take on a third party allocation of LINE Digital Frontier's new shares worth 8.6 billion yen. After the allocation is completed, LINE and NAVER WEBTOON's capital contribution ratios will be 70% and 30% respectively. Takeshi Idezawa will continue to serve as LINE Digital Frontier’s Representative Director and President.

*1 Press release regarding this capital alliance: https://linecorp.com/en/pr/news/en/2018/2251

The funds will be invested into the service, original content, marketing activities, and spent in other ways to grow the business and service. Furthermore, NAVER WEBTOON's content, development technology and resources, and global platform will be leveraged to expand the LINE Manga business to enrich LINE Manga’s original series, analyze the market and its users, improve the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience), distribute content worldwide, and enhance the service in other ways. With NAVER WEBTOON's free web manga service "XOY" (2.3 million monthly active users) to be integrated with LINE Manga by the end of the year, the parties will continue to make efforts to further spread and evolve manga as digital content.


LINE Digital Frontier will accelerate efforts to continuously improve the LINE Manga service, and explore various initiatives to provide the best service for its valued readers. Announcements will be made once service updates and new initiatives become ready.


LINE Manga service overview

Since its launch in April 2013, LINE Manga has been downloaded over 20 million times, and has grown into Japan's number one smartphone-based digital comic service. The digital comic store boats a library of over 250,000 titles, made available through its relationships with over 250 publishers and labels. Around 600 titles spanning many publishers are updated every day on the Free Manga platform. In October 2014, LINE established "LINE Book Distribution Corporation" ("LINE Book Distribution"), a joint venture with Kodansha, Shogakukan, and Media Do, and launched LINE Manga in Taiwan. In July 2015, original Free Manga titles overseen by the LINE Manga Editorial Team were launched on the platform. These titles were later published by LINE's original label, LINE Comics, and sold in stores across Japan – representing one of the ways that LINE Manga's publishing business continues to grow.


NAVER WEBTOON service overview

In 2004, NAVER WEBTOON Corporation launched its service in Korea under the name "NAVER WEBTOON." It currently has over 46 million monthly active users, and is the number one global service provider of original web manga and fiction in 70 countries. It has six brands under its umbrella including "LINE WEBTOON," a global web manga service mainly targeting the United States, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan, "NAVER BOOKS," providing paid comics and novels, and "NAVER WEBNOVEL," dedicated to web novels. Altogether, the service is distributing more than 1.2 million titles globally, including approximately 2,300 original works. In Japan, the company launched a free web manga service called "XOY" in 2016. 


Schedule of third-party allocation of shares to increase capital

Effective date of agreement and capital increase: August 1, 2018 (tentative)


About LINE Digital Frontier Corporation

Company Name: LINE Digital Frontier Corporation

Location of Head Office: 4-1-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Capital: JPY 100 million

Established: July 2, 2018

Board Members: Takeshi Idezawa, Representative Director and CEO (Representative Director and CEO of LINE Corporation)

       Jun Kim, Director (CEO and Founder of NAVER WEBTOON Corporation)

       Shoji Yasuoka, Director (Director at LINE Corporation)

       Kokan Ki, Auditor (Director at LINE Corporation)

Business Description: Operation of digital comic service

Shareholders: LINE, NAVER WEBTOON (in alphabetical order)


About NAVER WEBTOON Corporation

Company Name: NAVER WEBTOON Corporation

Location of Head Office: 6, Buljeong-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea

Capital: KRW 1.1 billion

Established: May 1, 2017

Board Members: Joon-Ku Kim, Representative Director and CEO

         Chang Wook Kim, Registered Executive Officer (CEO of SNOW Corporation)

         Seon Ju Chae, Registered Executive Officer (Executive Officer of NAVER Corporation)

         Jin Hee Kim, Auditor (CEO of NAVER I&S)

Business Description: Distribution of internet services and online information, electronic publishing services, etc.

Shareholder: NAVER Corporation (100%)