Japan’s leading messaging app, Line, announced Monday the price for its initial public offering (IPO) at 3,300 yen ($33) a share, the higher end of the range it had defined after having revised the range upward last week in face of high demand. The dual listing later this week — in the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday and the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday — is expected to raise about $1.3 billion for the company.
Earlier estimates, based on the previously announced lower range, expected the IPO to raise under $1 billion for Naver Corp., the South Korean company that owns the app. The valuation, in dollar terms, has also gone up because of a strengthening yen, which has gained over 6 percent since the IPO was announced last month.
The stock offering is the biggest technology IPO of the year so far, and comes amid a general drought of big-ticket technology company listings. Line has about 218 million monthly active users, more than half of which come from Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand. From being just a messaging app, it has expanded services to include voice calls, music streaming and hailing taxis. It generates revenue by selling games, stickers and other digital content, as well as from advertising.
These factors could have contributed to the high demand for the IPO, which prompted the company to increase its earlier range of 2,700-3,200 yen a share to 2,900-3,300 yen a share last week. The announced pricing values the company at about 693 billion yen.
“This is seen as an event by many domestic retail investors. I think the price will rise in the short term,” Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, told Reuters.
Line hopes to expand its presence outside Japan and Southeast Asia, and a substantial portions of the funds raised are expected to go toward that.
Shares of Naver Corp. closed 0.53 percent higher on the Seoul stock exchange on Monday.