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Terapin Studios Acquires Toomics Global Webtoon Platform for $160 Million

Company follows up this past February’s purchase of webtoon producer Copin Communications with new deal execs are confident will bring the company’s cartoon creators further into the international marketplace, putting them in better position to negotiate IP deals.

Terapin Studios, a U.S.-Korean media investor backed by NPX Capital, has purchased the fast-growing South Korean webtoon platform Toomics Global to the tune of $160 million.

The deal follows on the heels of a February 2022 acquisition that saw Terapin purchase the Korean webtoon producer Copin Communications. According to Variety, “[t]he two deals together are expected to give Terapin the capacity to take its stable of cartoon creators further into international markets and the ability to negotiate deals for its IP in multiple related or ancillary markets, from animated film and TV, to books, games, merchandise, and NFTs.”

Since the medium started gaining attention around 15 years ago, webtoons, the vertically scrolling comic strips viewable on smartphones, have grown into a cultural phenomenon in Japan, Korea, and throughout Southeast Asia.

The IP attached to the company’s comics includes such Korean film and TV hits as Netflix’s All of Us Are Dead and Itaewon Class, Disney+’s Moving, and Dr Brain for Apple TV+. Netflix is also working toward production of a new series based on Toomics’ original webtoon IP “Deliver Knight,” with the working title Black Knight. The sci-fi miniseries will star Kim Woo Bin (Alienoid) and is expected to be released sometime this year.

Samuel Hwang, founder and CEO of NPX Capital, told Variety that “[a third party] Korean production company is working with Netflix on Black Knight,” and that “[i]n future productions, we would expect Toomics to be a partner.” Hwang also shared that Terapin has discussed its properties with some Hollywood studios and foreign gaming firms.

Since its founding in 2015, Toomics has grown to 22 million monthly active users and over 60 million subscribers. The company offers its content in multiple languages -- English, French, Italian, and Portuguese being chief among them. (German and Chinese are also offered.) Beyond the scope of its publishing and distribution work, Toomics also provides content creators with various AI-driven tools, including coloring software, transition templates, and more.

“Toomics is a leading player that represents Korea’s growth in digital entertainment,” Hwang continues. “The company is not only a platform that connects with tens of millions of viewers, but also a powerhouse of digital content that leverages its own intellectual property and production capabilities.” He expressed confidence that Terapin Studios’ acquisition of Toomics will strengthen its still-growing content platform.

Kah Jonghyun, COO of Terapin Studios, added: “This acquisition is especially meaningful as more Korean IPs, which have a proven track record of international success, can now enjoy the infrastructure, funding and support at a global level under the Terapin platform.”

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Max Weinstein is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles. He is the Editor-at-Large of 'Dread Central' and former Editorial Director of 'MovieMaker.' His work has been featured in 'Cineaste,' 'Fangoria,' 'Playboy,' 'Vice,' and 'The Week.'