SEOUL, South Korea, and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to capture a major piece of the growing U.S. mobile commerce and location-based shopping market, SK planet Co., Ltd. (SKP) today announces that SKP will acquire shopkick, Inc. (shopkick), the country's most widely used real-world shopping app. SKP is affiliated with SK Holdings, a Fortune 100 corporation, and SK Telecom, Korea's largest mobile carrier. SKP operates South Korea's most successful mobile platforms and shopper rewards program; its cross-retailer rewards program counts 38 million subscribers in a country of approximately 50 million people, and processes $50 billion in transactions per year.
"The acquisition of shopkick will create the key platform of SK planet's U.S. mobile commerce business, and also expand our global market position," said Jinwoo So, CEO of SKP. "Shopkick's dominant leadership position in mobile shopping in the U.S. combined with our depth of business assets will allow us to build the best shopping products across the globe. Together, we will expand well beyond mobile, connecting online and offline shopping experiences in unprecedented ways."
The merger will bolster SKP's leadership position in the global commerce markets and grow the newly combined business at a massive scale. Shopkick will continue under the leadership and vision of the current management team, but will add the resources and business assets of SKP to further accelerate its rapid growth among shoppers, retailers and brands.
"Our vision is to build the most beautiful and useful digital user interface on top of the physical shopping world," said Cyriac Roeding, CEO and co-founder of shopkick. "When I first heard Jinwoo speak of SK planet's vision, it sounded like we were from the same company – that's how closely our strategies are aligned. We were at a point where we needed an infusion of resources and reach to keep up with the incredible demand and growth across partner retailers, brands and users. What we got goes well beyond that; we can now drive SK planet's international leadership forward in the U.S., and SK planet will help us achieve our global visions."
Forrester Research estimates the offline shopping market that is influenced by previous online activity to be $1.4 Trillion in the U.S., and over four times larger than all online shopping revenue. The services of SKP and shopkick lead the market in shopping services that facilitate "online-to-offline" commerce.
SK planet was advised by Pagemill Partners (a Division of Duff & Phelps) and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Shopkick, Inc. was advised by Fenwick & West LLP.
About SK planet Co., Ltd.
Based in Seoul, Korea, SK planet operates that country's most successful cross-channel web and mobile platforms, including OKcashbag, which is the largest consumer rewards program with 38 million members and partnering merchants from large to small sizes, T-Store, which is one of the world's leading mobile app store, and 11st, which is the most popular virtual mobile commerce marketplace. Through mobile-centered creativity and technologies based on a profound understanding and insight on humans, SK planet provides products that work worldwide. SK planet operates in six countries, including Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Turkey, and U.S., providing services in areas of open market, music streaming, and mobile commerce. For more information about SK planet, visit www.skplanet.com/eng.
About shopkick, Inc.
The shopkick app is the shopping companion that inspires, organizes and rewards users in the real world. The World Economic Forum (WEF) named shopkick a Technology Pioneer 2013. Forbes rated shopkick as one of America's 100 Most Promising Companies in 2014, and Inc. Magazine rated shopkick of the America's Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies. Nielsen ranked shopkick the most widely and often used real-world shopping app, ahead of any physical retailers' apps. Shopkick's growing Partner Alliance includes American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, JCPenney, Macy's, MasterCard, Old Navy, Simon Property Group, Sony, The Sports Authority, Target, Visa, Procter & Gamble, Mondelez, Revlon, Unilever, Pepsi, Levi's, HP and more. ShopBeacon™, shopkick's end-to-end, fully Apple iBeacon™ compatible technology, is already deployed at 3,000 large US stores, including all Macy's stores, making it the largest iBeacon deployment in retail worldwide. The Redwood City-based company was funded by Kleiner Perkins' iFund, Greylock Partners and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and investor in Facebook.