Japanese mobile messaging giant Line Corp has finally confirmed its plans to go public. The Tokyo Stock Exchange today approved a new listing of common stock, and the company intends to also file an F-1 form with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S. later today.
This move doesn’t come as a major surprise — Line was a leading contender to go public, with rumors recently surfacing that a dual IPO in New York and Tokyo was in the works.
A subsidiary of South Korea’s biggest web operators, Naver Corp, Line rose to prominence back in 2011 for its WhatsApp-style messaging app, which today claims more than 200 million monthly active users (MAU) in 200 countries. The majority of those users exist across Japan and a handful of Asian countries. The company has also expanded into other services, such as mobile payments, taxis, and other standalone apps.
However, with big-name competitors such as Facebook — and its off-shoots Messenger and WhatsApp — going from strength to strength globally, Line has struggled to grow its user-base — and the West has proved a tough nut to crack.
Despite its growing pains, Line has evidently decided now is the right time to go public, and it intends to list American Depository Shares (ADS) on the New York Stock Exchange “on or around July 14, 2016,” with Tokyo to follow a day later.
So why the dual IPO?
“Line Corporation has made the decision to go public in both Japan and the United States to further enhance its strong position in Asia and to continue a more active global expansion,” the company said in a statement.
This news comes almost two years exactly after fellow Asian company and Chinese tech titan Alibaba announced that it would be floated on the New York Stock Exchange. But the two companies are worlds apart in scale — Alibaba raised more than $20 billion on its debut in September 2014, and although earlier rumors suggested Line was looking to scoop around $3 billion, recent reports have pegged that at closer to $1 billion.