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Chat app Line to raise $5.5b in Tokyo-New York IPO in July

The messaging app platform's IPO will be the biggest in Japan so far this year as it looks to new revenue generators and expanding its user base.

Japanese mobile messaging app Line is finally going public simultaneously on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange in July, expected to be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in Japan so far this year.

After the Japanese bourse reviews Line's Application this month, the popular chat app looks to raise 600 billion yen ($5.5 billion), according to a reports in South Korea citing The Nikkei, Japan's largest financial daily.

Line initially planned to go public two years ago in 2014 -- then an estimated 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) offering -- but its listing attempts foundered, in part due to a failure to agree on the terms of an IPO with parent company Naver Corp, South Korea's largest search portal.

Analysts based in Seoul said Naver had insisted on a greater share of corporate voting rights to guard against any possible future hostile takeover. Apparently, Naver has since moderated its position, allowing the IPO to go forward. A Naver spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

The South Korean internet giant owns 100 percent of Line, which debuted in 2011 as NHN Japan, before changing its name to Line Corp in 2013. Line is operated separately from Naver, but it is also the South Korean company's biggest revenue maker.

Line needs the cash to launch new revenue generators and expand its user base which has stagnated for successive quarters. Line reported 218.4 MAUs in first quarter of 2016.

Line is based in Japan, but has a strong foothold in Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. The app could be especially effective in expanding its presence in Thailand, where it already has about 50 percent market share with 33 million users.

The mobile messaging platform has already launched a menu of popular services and online-to-offline (O2O) businesses in Thailand, including Line Man, a delivery service for goods ordered from nearby restaurants and convenience stores; Line TV, a free-for-use video streaming service; and Line Pay, a mobile payment service.

Line's IPO will likely be Japan's biggest since the $12 billion partial privatisation of Japan Post in November 2015.

Source: ZDNet.co.kr