Japan’s Line to dual list IPO in Tokyo and New York

Line, the company that produces a messaging app hugely popular among Japanese teenagers, said Friday it plans to list its initial public offering in both Tokyo and New York.

Considered by many to be among the biggest IPOs this year, the deal which values the Tokyo-based firm at 588 billion yen, is expected to raise about 98 billion yen with the dual listing.

Owned by South Korean Internet provider Naver, Line said it expects to list its shares in New York on July 14 and in Tokyo the following day.

The logo of free messaging app Line is pictured on a smartphone and the company's stuffed toy in this photo illustration taken in Tokyo, Japan September 23, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Illustration/File Photo

The logo of free messaging app Line is pictured on a smartphone and the company’s stuffed toy in this photo illustration taken in Tokyo, Japan September 23, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Illustration/File Photo

The Tokyo Stock Exchange said Line will offer 13 million shares in Japan, while 22 million shares will be offered in the US. The indicative price for the shares will be 2,800 yen apiece. It will be the biggest offering in Tokyo since the 15-trillion-yen November IPO of Japan Post.

“(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,” Line said in a statement.

The app claims to have more than 200 million monthly active users and holds the No. 1 spot in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. It also has a strong presence in Indonesia and some Spanish-speaking areas, such as Spain and Mexico. The IPO will help it fund its expansion beyond just a strong base of Asian smartphone users. It hopes to use the funds to tap into the Middle East, a region of more than 1 billion people which does not have a dominant messaging service.

Launched in 2011, this popular app lets users make free calls, send instant messages, and post photos or short videos, and combines attributes from Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp. It’s best known for letting users send each other cute cartoon “stickers.”



Categories: Asia Unhedged, Japan, Koreas

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