South Korea's Kakao drops plan to sell stake in taxi-hailing unit


FILE PHOTO: The Kakao messaging application and the Kakao T taxi booking application are seen on a mobile phone in this illustration photo March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean tech conglomerate Kakao Corp said on Thursday it is no longer exploring plans to sell about 10% of unit Kakao Mobility after objections from unionised employees and other stakeholders.

Kakao holds a 57.6% stake in Kakao Mobility, whose app Kakao T offers South Korea's most popular taxi-hailing service with 31 million registered users.

It had been looking at a possible share sale after the company was criticised in parliament late last year for dominating the taxi-hailing market with an estimated market share of more than 80%.

Kakao Mobility, whose investors include Alphabet's Google and private equity firms TPG and Carlyle, has also been exploring an IPO. It hired financial advisers in March including Credit Suisse and Citigroup, but has currently paused any specific actions toward a listing, a company spokesperson said.

Unfavourable market conditions have caused a number of South Korean firms to scrap or postpone IPOs, including refiner Hyundai Oilbank and Hyundai Engineering.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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