Dave Morin, the former Facebook Inc. executive who became an angel investor, agreed to sell the Path social networking application he started in 2010 to Daum Kakao Corp.
Daum Kakao will also buy the Path Talk instant message app with both acquisitions operating as standalone services, Morin said in a blog posting without disclosing a price. Shares of Daum Kakao, which has the most popular communications app in South Korea, surged as much as 13 percent in Seoul.
The purchase follows Facebook’s $22 billion purchase of WhatsApp Inc. last year and Rakuten Inc.’s agreement to buy Viber. Mary Meeker, a partner for venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, this week said such services will become more popular as destinations for commerce, games, taxi-hailing and more.
Path, which Morin said has 10 million users a month, has struggled to gain traction with social media users with most of its customers coming in Southeast Asia. WhatsApp has about 800 million users, Tencent Holdings Ltd. has more than a billion combined customers for its WeChat and QQ services while Naver Corp.’s Line has 205 million monthly active users.
Daum Kakao rose 9.5 percent, the biggest jump since Jan. 2, to 117,300 won at the close in Seoul trading. The South Korean company confirmed the deal in an e-mailed statement. Morin’s company, Path Inc., will continue to operate the recently started Kong service for sharing selfie pictures.