Messaging App Line Is Planning an IPO

Line Corp. Chief Executive Officer Takeshi Idezawa News Conference
Takeshi Idezawa, chief executive officer of Line Corp., speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Naver Corp.'s Line app, Japan's biggest messaging service, began a revenue sharing system with news media organizations that start their own channels on the system. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Kiyoshi Ota—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Line, the messaging app that is hugely popular in Japan, is reportedly planning an initial public offering of around $3 billion.

The IPO is set to take place as a dual listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq, people close to the deal told Reuters.

The actual date of the IPO is expected to be around the end of summer, although one report cites analysts who believe the IPO will be delayed to the second half of this year by Naver, the South Korean company that owns Line. “The plan by Naver to have an IPO for Line will be delayed until the second half of this year due to market uncertainty and the mediocre business growth of Line,” said Ahn Ji-maan, an analyst at NH Securities, in a note to clients, and as reported by the Korea Times.

In the company’s most recent earnings report, Line boasts around 215 million monthly active users, with 67% of that total coming from the app’s top four countries in terms of market share: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. In Japan, it is estimated that 40% of the entire population use Line.

However, the app’s MAU growth was just three million more than the previous quarter, leading some to question if Line can grow outside of its core markets. To expand its revenue streams—the app earned around $1 billion in revenue in 2015— Line has launched a range of services that include an online TV service, a paid music streaming app, mobile payments, and a grocery delivery pilot project.

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