Line Corp., the corporate parent of Japanese messaging app Line, is preparing to go public on both the Tokyo and New York stock exchanges in what could be one of the biggest IPOS in Japan this year. The IPO values the company at more than $5 billion, according to press reports.
Line said it has received listing approval from the Tokyo Stock Exchange and it is filing the paperwork for its New York IPO on Friday. It said it plans for its shares to start trading in New York on July 14 and in Tokyo on July 15 as it pursues a “more global expansion.”
Line, owned by South Korea’s Naver Corp., offers services similar to WhatsApp and China’s WeChat in terms of text messaging, graphic stickers and voice calls. It has a strong following in Japan and a smattering of other Asian countries, including Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.
Line has been busy courting fashion brands and retailers to convince them to use the app to reach consumers. Chat-based commerce is a hot topic in the retail industry. Back in January Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant would begin expanding Facebook Messenger to more businesses after testing with companies such as Uber and Everlane. Last year, Burberry struck a deal with Line to live-stream its runway shows in Japan.
The Japan branch of Naver launched Line just a few months after the deadly March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that paralyzed phone networks across much of eastern Japan.