Ja­pan mes­sag­ing app Line set for year’s top tech IPO

The Myanmar Times - - International / Business -

JA­PAN-BASED mes­sag­ing app Line said yes­ter­day it could raise more than US$1.0 bil­lion in one of the year’s big­gest share sales, as it makes its mar­ket de­but this week.

The com­pany, look­ing to ex­pand on boom­ing pop­u­lar­ity among smart­phone users in Asia, priced its shares at a top-of-the-range 3300 yen (US$32), sug­gest­ing strong de­mand for the sale.

Based on that price, the ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing will raise 115.5 bil­lion ($1.14 bil­lion) through the sale of 35 mil­lion shares.

An op­tion to sell more shares could put the IPO on course to raise a to­tal of $1.3 bil­lion.

Line, owned by South Korea’s Naver, starts trad­ing in New York on July 7 and in Tokyo July 8.

The sale, valu­ing the firm at about $6.9 bil­lion, is the big­gest tech­nol­ogy IPO this year, Bloomberg News re­ported, and the largest so far in Tokyo.

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, with games and a mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice also on of­fer.

Line’s mes­sag­ing ser­vice launched in 2011 after the quake-tsunami tragedy dam­aged Ja­pan’s tele­coms in­fra­struc­ture na­tion­wide, forc­ing peo­ple to use on­line re­sources to com­mu­ni­cate.

It is best known for let­ting users send each other cute car­toon “stick­ers”, and is hugely pop­u­lar in Ja­pan, par­tic­u­larly among teenagers.

The app has a strong pres­ence in Asian mar­kets such as Thai­land, Tai­wan and In­done­sia, as well as some Span­ish-speak­ing na­tions, in­clud­ing Spain and Mex­ico.

Line said it would use pro­ceeds from the stock of­fer­ing to help it ex­pand in Asia, and tap the US and Euro­pean mar­kets where it’s not a ma­jor player.

The sale comes two years after the firm ini­tially an­nounced plans to list that were later shelved, re­port­edly be­cause of dis­agree­ments over the sale be­tween Line and its South Korean owner.

Line’s of­fer­ing would be the big­gest in Tokyo since Ja­pan Post made its long-awaited trad­ing de­but in Novem­ber with a share sale that topped $11.5 bil­lion. –

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