Operator of a Japanese messaging app that’s popular in Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Japan, Line is slated to begin trading in New York on Thursday, and in Japan on Friday. Line’s IPO is the largest public offering of any tech company this year. (Also Read: Everything Investors Need To Know About LINE, The Biggest Tech IPO of 2016)
Around the world Line might be seen as just another chat service, but in the four countries where it is most popular, it is so much more. Line acts as a tool to call and message friends, a news and entertainment platform, a gaming studio, and a music streaming service. The company has also delivered rides and groceries, and sells hundreds of millions of dollars worth of digital stickers annually. Basically, in Thaildand, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Japan, Line acts as a combination of Facebook’s (FB - Free Report) Whatsapp, Skype, Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , Zynga (ZNGA - Free Report) Spotify, and Uber all in one.
There are some concerns behind the growth of the company, as in its IPO filing the company notes that there has been a significant decrease in usage outside its four main countries. The concerns haven’t seemed to affect investor attention though, with Line’s IPO expected to raise more than $1 billion from the offering.
Line decided back in 2014 to cancel its plans to go public, and the wait to launch its IPO will likely pay off in a big way given the scarcity of tech IPOs launching this year. Line will be just the fifth tech company to go public this year, as many others have decided to put off going public given the market’s volatility. If Line’s debut goes well, it can build upon the success of Twilio’s (TWLO - Free Report) recent IPO, and encourage other tech companies to enter the market.
Line priced its offering at the top end of its range to raise $1.14 billion, which gives the company a value of almost $7 billion. The company’s IPO will be something to watch for investors, other private tech companies looking to go public, and even other social media and messaging apps, as they will look for what works for the app with its users.
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