Japanese messaging app Line may go for US-only IPO

Line has already applied for an initial public offering in Tokyo, but the app's parent company reportedly has its eyes on Wall Street.

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Line

Japan-based messaging app Line appears to be mulling in an initial public offering in either Tokyo or the United States, or both.

Line kicked off the process by submitting an IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, parent company Naver Corp. said Wednesday, according to multiple reports. While Line wants to list shares in Japan, unnamed banking sources told Reuters that Naver wants to see a dual US-Japan listing -- or a listing only in the US.

Naver is apparently concerned about the costs of listing in both countries and "favors New York's higher volume and global profile," according to Reuters. Line could be valued between 1 trillion and 2 trillion yen, around $10 billion to $20 billion, banking sources told Reuters.

CNET has contacted Line for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

Reports surfaced Tuesday suggesting Line would file for an IPO. The Line app offers both text messaging and voice calls between its users, and the company claims to have grown 140 percent in the last year to 480 million downloads. Line also has a strong presence internationally, with only about 15 percent of the firm's business comes from its home country of Japan.

Line is believed to be eyeing the Tokyo Stock Exchange because it calls the country home. Major valuations, however, are more likely to be wrangled in the US, banking sources told Reuters, and that could be prompting Naver to consider listing on Wall Street.

If Line wants to score big on an IPO, now might be the time. The company has a large user base and watched WhatsApp get gobbled up by Facebook for $19 billion earlier this year. It's also facing stiff competition from similar messaging apps like of WeChat, Viber, and BBM.

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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