Japanese messaging service Line has decided to go forward with its much awaited Initial Public Offering in the coming month of July. But to add a bling to their IPO, the company will list on both Tokyo and New York stock exchanges simultaneously.
The messaging service’s IPO is expected to be the biggest initial public offering in Japan so far. South Korea’s biggest financial publication, The Nikkei, cites that Line has set sight on raising over 600 billion yen ($5.5 billion).
Line had initially planned to go public at the Tokyo Stock Exchange two years ago in 2014 at a valuation of $9.8 billion in an attempt to raise over 2 trillion yen($18 million) as compared to the meager $600 million this time around.
Line is a subsidiary branch of the South Korean tech giant Nevar, who had postponed the plans of a public offering in a bid to bolster its position in global markets and prioritize growth and user engagement over more investments flowing into the service via the IPO.
Analysts believe that the IPO had fallen through because of Nevar had stuck its foot out for a greater share in company voting rights(even though it owns a 100% of Line Corp), in order to avoid future take-over issues. The company also believed that global expansion was a must before the IPO, but the reach of the messaging app has been restricted to Japan, Taiwan and its neighboring countries. The application currently hosts only has 218 million monthly active users
Line Corp wants to utilise the newly infused funds to work on new revenue generation schemes and expand its user base which has been declining since the rise of other chat platforms, including Messenger, Whatsapp and WeChat and bots in the current messaging scenario. Line also wants to leap-frog the communication gap and join the boys in the big league — trying to change the way people communicate.
Line makes most of its revenue using in-app sticker and advertisement sales, but the messaging service has also tried to introduce new services, like hailing a cab, ordering groceries, or even introduce a lighter version of the app to attract users to their platform — but in vain. It also acquired MixRadio from Microsoft to bolster music streaming on its platform, an year ago.
Being the biggest public offering of Tokyo, the messaging service is sure to see a lot of traction, but the future of the platform is still uncertain. With the like of WeChat who have conquered the Chinese and Japanese market with the introduction of app services with their messaging app has seen a ballistic growth and on-boarding on the service.