GIC, Anchor Equity back Korean mobile content business

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Seoul-based Anchor Equity Partners invest $107m in mobile content platform Podotree, as they seek to tap South Korea’s mobile-first consumers.

A consortium led by Korea-focused private equity firm Anchor Equity Partners and which includes Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC have invested KRW 125 billion ($107 million; €100 million) in Seoul-headquartered mobile content company Podotree, according to a company statement.

The consortium acquired 3.6 million shares of Podotree’s common stock worth KRW 34,552 per share.

Podotree is the mobile content provider of Korean internet giant Kakao and counts Korean private equity firm MVP Capital and Samsung Venture Investment as some of its backers. The company’s product portfolio includes Mission Alarm Clock, the Cacao page, Driven Kids Safari and PLAY Vocabulary.

The investment comes at a time when South Korea’s mobile-commerce market continues to show strong growth. According to a report from McKinsey& Co, every year since 2010 South Korea’s mobile-commerce market has more than doubled in value, with purchases using mobile devices jumping more than fourfold since 2012 to about KRW 10 trillion or $9.8 billion.

In a statement, the company said the consortium’s investment will be used to secure more intellectual property rights as well as foray into Japan, China and North America.

Anchor Equity Partners is currently investing 2015-vintage Anchor Equity Partners Fund II which raised $850 million against a $750 million target in less than six months.

The fund specialises in growth capital, buyout and consolidation opportunities in Korea, seeking investments of over $50 million in consumer & retail, services, and logistics and distribution.

In April 2015 the firm was part of a KKR-led consortium that acquired a 46 percent stake in local e-commerce operator Ticket Monster from Groupon for $360 million. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Pavilion Capital also co-invested in this transaction.

Anchor Equity Partners was formed by three senior investment professionals consisting primarily of Goldman Sachs’ Korean Principal Investment team.

GIC, which manages more than $100 billion of assets, invested $265 million Indonesia’s largest theatre operator PT Nusantara Sejahtera Raya earlier this month, to expand its business in the domestic market.