Date
26 July 2017
Line is worth US$9.34 billion after the stock surged 36 percent in its New York debut. The company raised US$723 million in this year's biggest US listing. Photo: Internet
Line is worth US$9.34 billion after the stock surged 36 percent in its New York debut. The company raised US$723 million in this year's biggest US listing. Photo: Internet

Japanese chat app Line soars in New York debut

Japanese messaging app operator Line Corp. soared as much as 36 percent in its US market debut overnight and ended the day with a market value of US$9.34 billion.

This year’s US biggest listing raised US$723 million after the offering of 22 million American depository shares closed at US$32.84, the upper end of the expected price range of US$28.50-US$32.50, Reuters reports.

The Tokyo-based company’s shares hit an intraday high of US$44.49 in the New York Stock Exchange.

Line, controlled by South Korea’s Naver Corp, will list its stock on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday.

The company sold 13 million shares at 3,300 yen per share in Japan, raising about US$426.92 million.

Including an overallotment of 5.25 million shares, the company collected 132.8 billion yen (US$1.27 billion), making the offering Japan’s biggest this year.

After the offering, Naver’s ownership dropped to 80.8 percent.

Line, the seventh most used messenger app globally, said it will use the money to expand outside Japan and Southeast Asia.

The app has a lot of ground to cover in major Western markets, where Facebook Inc.’s Messenger and WhatsApp are dominant, and in China, where Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat is popular.

As of March, Line had 218 million monthly active users (MAUs).

WhatsApp leads the pack with about one billion MAUs, while Facebook Messenger is No. 2 with 900 million.

Line’s messaging app was launched in the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami to overcome downed communications, growing unexpectedly to become the country’s dominant mobile messaging platform over the next few years.

The bulk of Line’s revenue comes from games and sales of emojis and electronic stickers.

The company’s revenue and other operating income rose about 28.3 percent to 120.88 billion yen in 2015.

Line reported a loss of 7.97 billion yen in 2015, compared with a year-earlier profit of 2 billion yen.

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