Line to raise $1bn in IPO

Line to raise $1bn in IPO

Thailand's most popular messaging app, Line, is aiming to raise as much as $1 billion (35.2 billion baht) in an initial public offering (IPO) in July, making its stock market debut in Tokyo and New York next month.

The IPO would be this year's biggest tech stock offering globally, according to Bloomberg, providing a rare bright spot for the moribund market for listings. The shares will list on New York Stock Exchange on July 14, and on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on July 15.

The funding will give Line, with 218 million monthly active users, more resources to challenge Facebook Inc's Messenger and WhatsApp, or China's WeChat.

The Tokyo-based company, whose app debuted in 2011, is planning a long-term expansion in the US after its huge success in Asia selling stickers and other digital knickknacks for people to buy and share during chat sessions on their mobile phones.

Line -- owned by South Korean search portal Naver Corp -- is No.1 in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.

CEO Takeshi Idezawa, 43, is betting that the messaging service will be able to snap up users in the Middle East, tapping into a pool of more than one billion people in regions where there isn't a dominant messaging service, Bloomberg reported.

"We will continue mergers and acquisitions and other investment globally, but there is nothing decided at this point" in terms of a particular deal, AFP quoted the company as saying.

Thailand is Line's second biggest market with 33 million registered users after Japan which has 68 million registered users, according to the company.

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