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Naver says Line messenger app files for Tokyo IPO

Naver says Line messenger app files for Tokyo IPO

SEOUL (StartName) – South Korea’s Naver Corp said on Wednesday its Japan-based messaging application subsidiary Line Corp has applied for an IPO in Tokyo – an offering that could value the company at more than $10 billion.

Naver, in a regulatory filing, stressed that its plans were preliminary. It said it is considering a dual listing in Japan and the United States. It is also possible that it may only list in the United States, it added.

“It has not been decided whether LINE will eventually go public, which exchange it will be listed on and when it will be listed,” Naver said in its filing.

A person with knowledge of the matter told StartName on Tuesday that Line applied for an IPO that would value the company at more than 1 trillion yen ($10 billion).

Line has hired Nomura Holdings Inc and Morgan Stanley to manage the IPO, the person said.

The messaging app space has seen a spate of dealmaking. Facebook Inc recently paid $19 billion for Whatsapp, while online retailer Rakuten Inc paid $900 million for Viber.

The Line messaging app, developed to overcome downed communications after Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has expanded rapidly overseas in Asia and the Americas, claiming popularity with its games and oversized emoticons, called stickers.

Global downloads have surpassed 480 million, Line said.

The company recorded 14.6 billion yen ($145 million) in revenue in January-March – a more than threefold increase on the year. With full-year sales hitting 51.8 billion yen last year, Line was the highest-grossing non-game app of 2013, according to analytics firm App Annie.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee and Joyce Lee; Editing by Tony Munroe and Edwina Gibbs)

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