LINE Poised to Be This Year’s Biggest Tech IPO, Worth $1.3B


The popular messaging service Line is now targeting a $1.14 billion raise in what could potentially be this year’s largest tech IPO, reports Bloomberg.

Line has set the price of its IPO at the top of the targeted range, and will also exercise an option to sell more stock as potential investors shrug off market volatility initially caused by Brexit.

The company announced that it will sell 35 million shares at $32 apiece (3,300 yen).

It will also sell 5.25 million shares through a greenshoe (a clause that allows underwriters to buy up to an additional 15% of shares at the offering price), boosting the total raised to $1.3 billion.

The shares will begin trading in New York on July 14 and the day after in Tokyo. The company’s New York traded stock was priced at $32.84 with Line selling 25.3 million shares in the US, including the greenshoe.

Line is clearly gearing up for a big battle with larger rivals such as Facebook and Wechat owned Tencent Holdings. The company is looking to expand its 218 million user base beyond its strongest markets in Japan and Thailand. An expansion to target more users in Asia and eventually the US is planned for the future. Line initially filed to go public two years ago, but held off in hopes of getting stronger reception from investors, a strategy which may have cost the company as Facebook took this time to begin infiltrating its sector around the same time the market for technology company IPOs cooled.

The company made $1 billion in revenue in 2015, but isn’t yet profitable. Almost 90% of its revenue comes from Japan, while more than 60% of income comes from games. Sales grew 40% last year to 120.7 billion yen, with games, streaming music and comics accounting for 41% of that. But Line chalked up a net loss of 7.6 billion yen in the period, according to its IPO filing.

No technology company has raised more than $150 million in an IPO this year.

A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on July 11. Read the full version here.