Line reportedly looking at U.S. IPO this year

Steven Loeb · June 4, 2014 · Short URL:

Mobile messaging company could go public in both Japan and the United States by November

Well, we've had a slew of companies from China who are either planning to, or already have, become publicly traded on the U.S. markets, including JuMei, Sina Weibo and Alibaba. So why not one from Japan as well?

Mobile messaging app Line looks to be lining up an initial public offering in both the United States and Japan, according to a report from Bloomberg on Tuesday.

The company is reportedly working with Nomura Holdings and Morgan Stanley to prepare, and is looking to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, as well as either the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. It is being reported that both IPOs could happen as soon as November.

Line also has not yet determined what the size of the IPO will be, nor has it decided which banks will be the lead underwriters.

VatorNews has reached out to Line for comment on the report, but the company could not be reached at this time. We will update if we learn more. 

Mobile messaging has been an extremely hot space this year, with a slew of high profile acquistions and investments. They have included Rakuten's $900 million purchase of Viber, Alibaba's $215 million investment in Tango, and, of course, Facebook's mssive $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp.

The Tokyo-based Line has also been one of the hottest and fastest growing companies in the space, quadrulping its userbase in just a few years. Line reached the 100 million mark in March 2011, just ahead of its IPO, and then took nearly another two years to reach 200 million in January of last year. By April of this year, it doubled that number to 400 million.

The Japanese mobile messaging platform makes its money by offering both games and emoji, or stickers, that customers can purchase and then use to communicate with one another, as well as personalize their user profiles.

The company's revenue in the last three months of 2013 was 12.2 billion yen or $119 million, an increase of more than fivefold from a year earlier. Roughly 60% of that revenue came from its games, while another 20% came from sticker sales. In March, the company revealed that it has surpassed 300 million game downloads.

According to what analysts told Bloomberg, with those kinds of numbers and the amounts of money being thrown at companies in the space, Line could easily be valued at $10 or $20 billion.

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Founded in September 2009, Tango is a free mobile video calling service that connects family and friends wherever they are. Tango offers high-quality video calling for iOS and Android devices and works over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. More than 10 million people in 190 countries are using Tango to communicate every day, stay connected, and share special moments as they happen. Download the Tango application for free in the App Store and Android Market. Tango is based in Palo Alto, California.