South Korea’s private equity firms Woori Private Equity Asset Management Company Ltd (Woori PE) and Q Capital Partners Co Ltd will invest 20 billion won ($16.9 million) in Nolbal Co Ltd, a mobile app platform that offers a variety of activities for children, through their corporate restructuring fund. This is the second investment made by the fund. 

Woori PE and Q Capital will buy 20 billion won worth of redeemable convertible preference shares (RCPS) of Nolbal via their Woori-Q Corporate Restructuring Private Equity Fund, sources said on August 10.

The fund has reportedly valued the company at a post-money valuation of 60 billion won. The board of Woonjin Thinkbig Co Ltd, the parent company of Nolbal, approved the investment at a meeting on August 10. The two sides are expected to sign a share purchase agreement soon and close the deal next month after the country’s antitrust regulator approves the merger.

Nolbal was established in May as a Woongjin Thinkbig’s venture business unit. The app platform has more than 500,000 members with a total transaction volume of 11 billion won.

Woongjin Group split off Nolbal in May. Yoon Sae-bom, the second son of Woongjin Group chairman Yoon Seok-keum, is the head of the company.

The group has continued to offload its affiliates like Woongjin Energy, Booxen and Coway in recent years as part of its restructuring efforts.

The two PE firms have decided to make the latest investment, with a focus on the group’s turnaround efforts. Korea Growth Investment Corporation (K-Growth), an anchor limited partner of the corporate restructuring fund, stresses its aim to support not only post restructuring schemes such as corporate workouts but also pre-emptive restructuring schemes. In line with this, the investment in Nolbal has been made to back Woonjin Group’s new business amid its ongoing restructuring efforts.

The 155.1 billion-won Woori-Q Corporate Restructuring Private Equity Fund was created in May 2019. The fund invested 15 billion won in its first portfolio company Star Collabo Co Ltd in the same year. (Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)