SEOUL: Line Corp, a Japan-based social messaging service firm, has filed for an initial public offering in the United States, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing unidentified sources. Line’s parent company, South Korea’s Naver Corp, said on Wednesday that Line had filed for an initial public offering in Tokyo. Banking sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday that the listing will ultimately be either a dual US-Japan listing or a listing only in the United States.
Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal say this afternoon say they have it on good authority that messaging app Line is set to file for a huge IPO with the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSX). No other details are available. This is contrary to the words of NHN CFO Hwang In-joon last year when he said that the firm was considering listing Line in the US in order to boost its global standing.
Chinese ecommerce leader Alibaba last night updated its SEC prospectus, revealing, among other things, details about last week’s acquisition of mobile browser maker UCWeb. The deal, which Alibaba proclaimed to be the biggest in Chinese internet history and bigger than Baidu’s US$1.9 billion acquisition of 91 Wireless, cost Alibaba US$479 million in cash and 12.3 million company shares for the remaining one-third of UCWeb.
UCloud, a China-based provider of cloud computing infrastructure and services for games companies, and mobile startups and other enterprises (think Amazon Web Services here), has raised $50 million in a Series B round of financing, which it says is the largest-ever funding round for a Chinese provider of cloud-infrastructure-as-a-service. The round was led by Bertelsmann Asia Investments and Legend Capital. Previously, Bertelsmann participated in UCloud’s $10 million Series A along with DCM.
Another week, another Chinese tech IPO. The latest one lined up to hit US markets is JD, the estore that’s a close rival to Alibaba’s Tmall and other general ecommerce sites such as Amazon China. JD goes public today upon opening of Thursday’s trading. The company has just priced its shares at $19 each, which is above the initial $16 to $18 range it advised a few days ago, reports CNN Fortune. If it debuts at that price, JD will raise $1.78 billion from its listing.
FreakOut, Japan’s first and largest demand-side platform (DSP) for real-time bidding (RTB) on digital advertising was approved for IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers index earlier today. The company will be listed starting June 24. Tokyo-based GMO Venture Partners revealed that it provided US$1.5 million in series A funding for FreakOut back in February 2012. The firm expressed strong admiration for FreakOut CEO Yuzuru Honda, a serial entrepreneur in Japan whose match advertising business Brainer was acquired by Yahoo Japan in 2008.
Given the rapid-fire pace at which SoftBank President Masayoshi Son has funded hundreds of tech startups over the past two decades, his company’s $20 million investment 14 years ago in a tiny Chinese e-commerce operator called Alibaba.com was easy to miss. Son’s dealmaking synapses have been in overdrive since the dawn of the Internet age in the mid-1990s, and he has bet billions on unproven startups in search of tomorrow’s most promising technologies and online business models. “On the Net, everything moves so quickly,” Son said in an interview in 2000. “So you have to do things differently.”
Alibaba gave investors a closer look at the scale and growth of the e-commerce juggernaut in an IPO prospectus filed on Tuesday in the first step of what could become the largest technology debut in history. The Hangzhou, Zhejiang-based company, which powers four-fifths of all online commerce in the world’s second-largest economy, is expected to raise upwards of US$15 billion in its initial public offering and potentially surpass the US$16 billion that Facebook managed in 2012.
NEW YORK: Sina Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, debuted on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday with a 19.1 percent jump despite an IPO that went out under-subscribed and lower priced than hoped. In a spate of buying that suggested that Wall Street’s waters are still welcoming to loss-making technology high flyers, and to Chinese firms as well, Weibo shares rose from the subscription price of $17 to as high as $24.28, before settling the day at $20.24.
Zopim, a Singapore-based startup well-known for its live customer support chat widget, has been acquired by San Francisco’s Zendesk, a 500-strong customer support company that has filed for an IPO where it intends to raise US$150 million. The news was announced on both companies’ blogs. Zendesk’s S-1 filing states the Zopim deal could be worth up to $29.8 million. Zopim will get an upfront payment of $15.9 million, of which $5 million will be in cash and the rest in common stock.
China’s Twitter-esque Sina Weibo is now one big step closer to its IPO. The social network has filed a new form with the US SEC that shows Weibo will price its shares in the US$17 to $19 range. If it debuts at the top of that range, Weibo will raise $437 million. Weibo had 143.8 million monthly active users in March.
HONG KONG – China’s online giants Alibaba and Sina Weibo are both setting courses for share flotations on stock markets in the U.S. Both companies have significant relations with the media and entertainment sectors. Alibaba, an e-commerce behemoth with revenues bigger than Ebay and Amazon combined, has significant interests in online payment and cloud computing and has expanded into new areas such as mobile apps, mobile operating system and Internet TV. Last week the company announced the $800 million acquisition of HK-listed, Chinese film producer Chinavision. Yahoo! has a 24% stake in Alibaba, which it expects to reduce at the time of the IPO.