Line, the messaging app from Asia famed for its cutesy yet expressive emoji-like stickers, is on track to hold 2016’s largest tech public listing. The company today announced pricing for its dual Japan-U.S. IPO, which could raise as much as $1.14 billion.
The year started quietly for tech IPOs but the recent listing of Twilio has reopened the window. Line has priced its shares at ¥3,300, which represents the top end of its range thanks to high demand. The company is all set to begin trading in New York on Thursday and in Tokyo on Friday — the Wall Street Journal has more information:
Line had delayed establishing its IPO price range in late June as global markets reeled from the impact of the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union. But the company subsequently raised its target range, indicating that investors are keen on the IPO despite recent market turmoil following the Brexit vote. Line initially had set an indicative price of ¥2,800 for its shares.
Line is offering 13 million new shares in the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and 22 million shares in the New York Stock Exchange. A further 5.25 million shares will be sold through a “green-shoe” option, which allows for the issuance of additional shares if there is exceptional demand.
Line, which is owned by Korean internet giant Naver, counts 218 million monthly active users worldwide, two-thirds of whom are based in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. The company plans to use the new capital to go after other markets in Asia and raise its profile for potential expansion plans elsewhere in the world.
The company grossed $1 billion in revenue for the first time last year, making it one of the most lucrative app developers in the industry. But there are some notable points: it isn’t profitable, nearly 90 percent of its revenue comes from its native Japan, while more than 60 percent of its income is from its games. Stickers, which the company is well-known for, account for around one quarter of its sales — that’s around $270 million in 2015.