What: Shares of Line Corp. (ADR) (LN) jumped 26.6% Thursday following the Tokyo-based messaging platform's strong initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
So what: Line announced pricing for its IPO on Monday, saying it would offer 35 million shares of common stock, consisting of 22 million shares of common stock in the form of American Depositary Shares (ADSs) at a price of $32.84 per ADS, and 13 million shares on the Tokyo stock exchange. But shares skyrocketed shortly after the market opened here in the U.S., rising as much as 35.5% before settling to close up 26.6%, giving the company a market capitalization of roughly $7.3 billion. Of the 14 tech IPOs held this year, that makes Line the largest.
Line's primary messaging app was launched just five years ago. But its apps have been downloaded a total of 628 million times, and as of last quarter, supported an impressive 218.4 million monthly active users, good for a 7% year-over-year increase. Within that number, 151.6 million resided in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia, representing growth of 23% year over year in those four key markets.
That translated to a 21% year-over-year increase in revenue last quarter, to $303 million, of which $275 million came from the core LINE business, with roughly 35% from advertising, 35% from in-app content purchases, 22% from communication revenue, and 8% from other services and operations.
Now what: Given the volatility that tends to surround these kinds of IPOs, I personally prefer to let the dust settle before I seriously consider picking up shares. Letting Line get at least another quarter under its belt as a publicly traded company can be very useful, for example, in gathering the necessary financial information to determine the sustainability of both its revenue and earnings growth.
Considering Line has also voiced its intention to move into other potentially lucrative niches -- including music streaming, mobile payments, and taxi hailing -- creating a sort of one-stop shop, so to speak, for mobile consumers, I think it's worth at least adding Line to your watch lists to keep tabs on its progress in the coming quarters.