Will Line List in Tokyo in July?

3 Jun

Popular Japnese messaging app Line is expected to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in July and is considering a dual listing in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Market insiders that spoke to the Wall Street Journal said the IPO is expected to value Line at more than $5 billion, and the company is expected to raise $2 billion to $3 billion. However, that valuation will be a disappointment compared to what the company could have raised had it gone through with an IPO in 2014, they said.

When approached for comment, Line and parent company Naver Corp., a South Korean internet firm, said there are no firm plans for an IPO yet.

Line is extremely popular in Japan, where it is the leading messaging app. Its revenue in its home market has grown steadily, and the company has also expanded successfully to Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia, but beyond those markets it has struggled to gain traction.

At the end of March, Line’s monthly active users totaled 218 million, with more than half coming from just four countries: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. In the U.S., Line has not established a strong presence. At the same time, over the past year, it has only added 13 million users.

During a March interview with the Wall Street Journal, Line Chief Executive Takeshi Idezawa said the company planned to concentrate efforts in Asia and other markets where it can lead. He said Line’s prospects of expanding beyond its core markets looked weak, and in those it could expect to face stronger competition from bigger rivals such as Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as well as Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat.

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