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Line to go public in Tokyo & New York; to raise over $1B in dual IPO

Line app

Line, the Japan-based messaging app operator, has announced that it will go public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), to strengthen its position in the Asian market and expand globally. The company will be listed on the Tokyo exchange on 15 July, for which it has already received the approval, and around 14 July on the NYSE for which it will receive approval later today. Line provides free voice calls and messaging, and generates revenue from sales of stamps, games and advertisements.

In 2014, Line had filed for an IPO at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, valuing it at about $10 billion. But later the company decided against the idea as it had shown a strong growth.

As of now, Line has said that it plans to list shares worth $1.05 billion in the IPO next month, according to Reuters. The company stated that it would sell 35 million shares for an indicative price of 2,800 yen each, with 13 million new shares in Japan and 22 million shares overseas. This would make the company’s total worth at 588 billion yen ($5.5 billion). It is expected to be the biggest IPO for Japan this year.

Naver, the South Korean web portal operator, has also announced that it will sell as many as 5.25 million existing shares of its subsidiary Line. This will value the IPO at 112.7 billion yen with 40.25 million shares to be sold. Line is currently a 100% subsidiary of Naver. Line will use the proceeds of this IPO for strategic investments including global mergers and acquisitions, as well as to repay debt.

Financials: According to its recent earnings release for the quarter ending 31 March, Line reported $275 million in revenue from the core business, a 22% increase from the same quarter in the previous year. Overall the revenue for the quarter stood at $303 million. It said that advertisements accounted for 35% of its sales, while games and other content accounted for a further 35%. The stamp business accounted for 22%.

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User base
The company also stated that the Monthly Active User (MAU) count for Line stood at 218.4 million, as of March 31, 2016, increasing by 7% over the same quarter in the previous year. It derived 151.6 million users from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Competition

– In February, Facebook-owned WhatsApp messenger crossed 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs)

– In January, Facebook said that it’s standalone Messenger app had crossed 800 million active monthly users.

– WeChat, the Chinese chat app surpassed 700 million MAU during March 2016, up 29% year-over-year (YoY) from the same period in 2015.

Image Credits: Flickr User Bhupinder Nayyar under CC 2.0

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