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South Korea's Kakao Pay says IPO could be delayed

Regulator tells fintech to rewrite prospectus after similar move on gamer Krafton

South Korea's financial regulator says Kakao Pay must refile its IPO. (Screenshot from Kakao Pay's website)

SEOUL -- Fintech company Kakao Pay said on Monday that its initial public offering may be delayed after the financial regulator demanded it correct its filing -- the second time in a month for a major IPO to be upended in South Korea.

The affiliate of online messaging giant Kakao canceled an online news conference on its IPO scheduled for next week, saying it will announce a new date when one is fixed.

The Financial Supervisory Service on Friday ordered Kakao Pay to rewrite its IPO registration form within three months, saying it could mislead investors as is.

"It is possible that we will delay the IPO schedule. We will let you know if a new one is confirmed," a Kakao Pay spokesperson said.

The company offers a wide range of financial services, such as easy online payments, money transfers, bill settlement, authentication and investing. Kakao is the largest shareholder of the company with a 55% stake, followed by Alipay Singapore with 45%.

Kakao Pay initially planned to list on South Korea's benchmark Kospi stock index on Aug. 12 after accepting subscriptions for its shares on Aug. 4-5. It aimed to raise as much as 1.6 trillion won ($1.4 billion) by offering 17 million shares.

The announcement comes nearly three weeks after Krafton, a leading online game maker, cut its IPO price by more than 10% after receiving a similar demand from the FSS. With the correction, Krafton lost its chance to become South Korea's biggest IPO, as it lowered its fundraising target to about 4.3 trillion won from the initial 5.6 trillion won.

The moves by the FSS come as South Korea is in the midst of an IPO boom this year. Kakao Bank, another Kakao affiliate, filed for an IPO on June 28, seeking to raise up to 2.6 trillion won on the Kospi next month.

Kakao Pay declined to say why a correction was demanded, but market watchers estimated that the regulator may have raised questions about its valuation.

Kakao Pay compared itself to global peers such as PayPal, Square and Pagseguro Digital in its initial registration, an approach that Krafton also took before revising its registration.

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