News Release

Carlyle to Invest US$200 Million in Kakao Mobility, South Korea’s Largest Mobility-as-a-Service Platform

A partnership to accelerate the company’s growth and drive innovation

Seoul – Global investment firm The Carlyle Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CG) today announced that the firm has agreed to invest US$200 million in Kakao Mobility, the largest Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform in South Korea.  Equity for this transaction will come from Carlyle Asia Partners V.

Launched in 2015 as a business unit of Kakao Corp., an integrated mobile lifestyle platform company, and spun-off in 2017, Kakao Mobility has evolved into the largest MaaS platform in South Korea with 28 million registered users.  Headquartered in Pangyo, South Korea, and with more than 500 employees, Kakao Mobility provides a wide range of mobility services through its Kakao T mobile-app platform including taxi-hailing, designated driver, electric bike hire, parking, and navigation.  The company is also developing its autonomous driving technology.

Technology and data analytics, an increase in app usage and ease of payment has significantly transformed the mobility services industry in recent years, and is expected to continue driving the growth of app-based ride-hailing penetration in South Korea, as well as other mobility services.

Through this transaction, Kakao Mobility will leverage Carlyle’s industry knowledge and global network to expand into new businesses, pursue organic and inorganic growth opportunities, and further invest in technology, while continuing to develop an integrated smart mobility platform.

Ryu Gung-seon, CEO of Kakao Mobility, commented:  “Our partnership with Carlyle will enable us to expedite our growth strategy for our smart mobility platform, which aims to create a more comfortable and convenient mobility experience for users.  As a leading mobility player, we will work with various companies in the mobility industry to build an ecosystem through our Kakao T platform by focusing on the customers and improving service quality.”

John Kim, Managing Director of the Carlyle Asia advisory team, commented: “Under the leadership of a seasoned management team, Kakao Mobility has grown into South Korea’s largest MaaS platform with strong data analytics and technology capabilities.  We are excited about our partnership and believe our technology expertise and global network will help accelerate the company’s growth and continue innovation to bring long-term value to the society.”

Carlyle has been investing in South Korea for more than 20 years, partnering with local companies to drive business growth and value creation.  Last year, Carlyle invested in KB Financial Group and formed a strategic alliance with the company to collaborate on new investment opportunities both in Korea and overseas, and established a strategic partnership with Korean Re to explore co-insurance opportunities.  The firm also sold its investment in ADT Caps, the second largest security services provider in South Korea, to SK Telecom and Macquarie in 2018.

Carlyle has more than two decades of experience investing in the technology sector, deploying more than US$24 billion globally.  Last year, its portfolio company ZoomInfo completed its initial public offering, which at the time was the largest public debut by a software company in a decade.


About Carlyle
The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global investment firm with deep industry expertise that deploys private capital across three business segments:  Global Private Equity, Global Credit and Investment Solutions.  With US$246 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2020, Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of its investors, portfolio companies and the communities in which we live and invest.  The Carlyle Group employs 1,825 people in 29 offices across five continents.  Further information is available at Follow The Carlyle Group on Twitter @OneCarlyle.

About Kakao Mobility
Kakao Mobility was established in 2017 after the mobility business unit was spun-off from Kakao Corp.  With the mission to making mobility ”Faster, More Convenient, and Safe” through its Kakao T MaaS platform, Kakao Mobility continues to drive innovation and growth by providing a variety of transportation services including taxi, designed driver, electric bike hire, train, bus, parking, and navigation.


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