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SoftBank-backed Coupang buys Hooq assets to take on Netflix

Logos of Coupang (top) and Hooq
Logos of Coupang (top) and Hooq

South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang is buying the software of Hooq Digital, the South-east Asian video streaming service owned by Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel), Sony and Warner Bros that's filed for liquidation, according to people familiar with the deal.

Coupang has already struck a deal to acquire the assets, the people said, asking not to be named because the information hasn't been announced.

The deal ushers SoftBank-backed Coupang into a competitive over-the-top video streaming arena and pits it against the likes of Amazon.com and Netflix. It also marks growing consolidation in the segment, after Tencent Holdings recently agreed to buy the assets of Malaysian streaming platform iflix.

A Coupang representative declined to comment.

Hooq, a joint venture between Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros Entertainment, filed for liquidation in March and discontinued service at the end of April. Set up in 2015, it offered movies and drama series across Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

Coupang, widely regarded as South Korea's Amazon, has been aggressively expanding into new businesses such as food delivery and digital payments, mirroring the US giant by broadening its services. The Seoul-based company, founded in 2010 by chief executive officer Bom Kim, was said to be valued at $9 billion in late 2018 and has been eyeing a public listing as early as next year, Bloomberg News reported in January.

Buoyed by the growth in subscribers to its delivery service, sales at the startup rose to a record 7.15 trillion won ($5.9 billion) in 2019. Its investors include SoftBank Group's Vision Fund, BlackRock and Sequoia Capital. (Bloomberg)

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