Japanese messaging app Line heads for $10B IPO

Line applies for an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, according to reports, and may also consider listing on Wall Street.

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Line

Line Corp., the developer of popular Japanese messaging app Line that competes with WhatsApp and BBM globally, is planning to go public, according to reports Tuesday.

The company has already applied for an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at a 1 trillion yen, about $10 billion, valuation, an unnamed source told CNBC. Line may also considering listing on the New York Stock Exchange, according to The Wall Street Journal, and could go public later this year.

It's not clear from the reports how Line arrived at its valuation. CNET has contacted Line for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

Line, which is owned South Korean Internet company Naver Corp., doesn't have the same name recognition in the US as competitors like WhatsApp, BBM, and WeChat, but the company claims it has reached nearly 500 million downloads globally and operates in 230 countries. Line was founded in Japan in June 2011.

Messaging apps have quickly become the next frontier for companies or investors looking to spend money. In February, Facebook acquired messaging app WhatsApp -- which at the time had 450 million monthly active users -- for $16 billion.

Line offers messaging services such as full Line-to-Line messaging and free voice calls between users.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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