South Korean e-commerce leader Coupang (NYSE:CPNG) kicked off its IPO on Wednesday. Management initially priced the shares in a range of $27 to $30, but as a result of strong investor interest, it bumped the price range to $32 to $34 per share. Even that wasn't enough, as Coupang eventually priced its shares at $35, above the high end of its revised range.
Shares began trading at approximately 12:27 p.m. EDT at $63.50, gaining as much as 83% in the minutes following its debut. As of this writing, the stock is up 48% to about $51.85.
The company, referred to as the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) of South Korea, has established a strong reputation with consumers for its sterling customer service and rapid delivery times. Coupang dominates its niche in a country with a population of more than 51 million, with around 70% of the population found within seven miles of a Coupang fulfillment center.
For the year ended Dec. 31, 2020, the company generated net revenue of about $11.97 billion, up 91% year over year, and accelerating from 55% growth in 2019. This continued its history of consistently strong revenue growth, after increases of 69% and 44% in 2018 and 2017, respectively. Coupang's losses also continued, but at a more moderate pace. The company generated a net loss of $475 million last year, an improvement from a loss of $699 million in 2019.
With 100 million shares on offer, Coupang raised roughly $3.5 billion. Early investors also got in on the action, offering up an additional 20 million shares for sale, pulling in another $700 million. All told, this would value the company around $60 billion.
After the IPO, SoftBank (OTC:SFTB.Y), which will hold 33% of the company's shares, is set to reap a windfall from Coupang's successful debut, booking more than $16 billion in profits from its investment.