The largest mobile operator in South Korea, SK Telecom (SKT), and the leading messenger provider, Kakao, agreed a share-swap arrangement as part of a strategic alliance to collaborate across a range of sectors.

Under the agreement, SKT will sell KRW300 billion ($256 million) worth of shares to Kakao and acquire newly issued Kakao shares valued at the same amount. The transaction, scheduled for 5 November, will give SKT a 2.5 per cent interest in Kakao, which will take a 1.6 per cent stake in SKT.

The companies agreed to work closely in mobile network operations, e-commerce, digital content and future ICT. They will first establish a synergy committee led by Ryu Young-sang, head of SKT’s MNO division, and Yeo Min-soo, co-CEO of Kakao.

In a statement, SKT said the companies aim to improve customer experience by combining its mobile service with Kakao’s messenger platform. They also plan to cooperate in specialised services for 5G.