Line IPO could raise US$2bn-$3bn

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Robert Hartley

Line Corp, the Japanese messenger-services subsidiary of South Korea’s Naver Corp, could raise between US$2–$3bn in a planned IPO, according to sources close to the deal.

Preparations for the flotation of Line are understood to be accelerating and, according to one source, the company hopes to complete the listing before summer. The deal is likely to be a dual-listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and one of either NYSE or Nasdaq, sources said.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Nomura are understood to be advising on the deal.

Naver had put the planned listing of Line on hold last summer as the unit reported weaker-than-expected earnings and markets were volatile. Hwang In-joon, CFO of Naver, told Reuters at the time that the company would not decide on when to list Line until its earnings and market conditions improve.

Line reported strong consolidated revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the company pulling in ¥32.6bn (US$286m), a 26% year-on-year increase, according to a company announcement. Line had 215m monthly active users as of the end of 2015, according to an analyst research note.

A spokesperson for Naver Corp refused to comment.