Messaging app Line to list in Tokyo, New York
TOKYO, Japan – Messaging app Line said on Friday, June 10, it will list its shares in Tokyo and New York, in a sale valuing the firm at about $5.5 billion, as it looks to spread beyond a strong base among smartphone users in Asia.
The Tokyo-based firm won approval for the sale – likely to be among the biggest IPOs this year – with the dual listing expected to raise about 98 billion yen ($917 million).
Line, which is owned by South Korean Internet provider Naver Corp., said it expected to list its shares on July 14 in New York and July 15 in Tokyo.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange said Line will offer 13 million new shares in Japan, with another 22 million new shares to be offered in the US. The indicative price for the shares would be 2,800 yen apiece.
"(The company) has made the decision to go public in both Japan and the United States to further enhance its strong position in Asia and to continue a more active global expansion," it said.
The sale comes two years after Line initially announced plans to list its shares. The IPO was later shelved.
The offering would be the biggest in Tokyo since Japan Post made its long-awaited trading debut in November with an IPO that topped $11.5 billion.
The popular app lets users make free calls, send instant messages, and post photos or short videos, along with a host of other paid-services. It combines attributes from Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp.
The firm's messaging service was launched in 2011 after the quake-tsunami tragedy damaged telecoms infrastructure nationwide, forcing staff to resort to online resources to communicate.
Best known for letting users send each other cute cartoon "stickers", Line is hugely popular in Japan, particularly among teenagers.
The app – which claims to have more than 200 million monthly active users – has a strong presence in Asian markets such as Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, as well as some Spanish-speaking areas, including Spain and Mexico.
But the company has been looking to expand in bigger markets, such as the United States. – Rappler.com