Webtoon Entertainment prices US IPO at top of range to raise about $315 million

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

(Reuters) - Webtoon Entertainment has priced its initial public offering (IPO) at the top of its indicated range, seeking to raise about $315 million, the online comics platform said on Wednesday.

The company, majority-owned by South Korean tech giant Naver, priced its 15 million shares at $21 apiece, and had marketed the range of $18 to $21.

The IPO now values the Los Angeles, California-based company at $2.67 billion.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Securities and Evercore Group are the lead underwriters for the IPO.

Webtoon was founded in 2005 as a side project of CEO Junkoo Kim while he was working as a search engineer at Naver.

The company, whose roots are in Korea, is a storytelling platform that is home to thousands of titles across multiple genres including fantasy, action, romance and horror.

Webtoon has about 170 million monthly active users in more than 150 countries around the world.

The company's offerings include Japanese web-comic and manga app Line Manga, web-novel platform Wattpad and Korean web-comic offering Naver Webtoon.

Certain funds and accounts managed by world's largest asset manager BlackRock had indicated an interest in buying up to $50 million worth of shares sold in the offering.

Separately, Naver's U.S. subsidiary Naver U.Hub had agreed to buy $50 million worth of shares of Webtoon in a concurrent private placement.

Webtoon's shares are expected to being trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on June 27 under the symbol "WBTN".

(This story has been refiled to add the dropped dollar symbol in paragraph 3)

(Reporting by Arasu Kannagi Basil and Harshita Meenaktshi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)