Line's Lucky Break

The instant messaging app comes complete with solid business model and growing revenue.
At Closing, June 18th
198.31 USD

Could the Brexit-inspired global stock market rout have actually helped Line's IPO? It's not such a bizarre possibility.

After delaying by one day, Line's parent company Naver and existing shareholders announced plans to price shares in next month's offering at 2,700 yen ($26.40) to 3,200 yen apiece. That's a pretty nice range given it had earlier planned to sell stock at 2,800 yen.

One of the world's biggest instant messaging apps -- behind Facebook, WhatsApp and WeChat, Line comes complete with a solid business model and growing revenue. Which is a lot more than WhatsApp had to its name when it was snapped up by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion. Line is extremely popular in the few markets where it operates, and is almost non-existent elsewhere, meaning it has every chance of spreading globally once given the exposure. Revenue increased 40 percent last year, and the company reported a net loss of 7.6 billion yen.

That's all well and good, but what may matter most to global investors is the fact Line can offer a haven amid all the turbulence.

About $1 trillion has been erased from the S&P 500 Index over the past two days, and that sell-off means buckets of cash looking for a home. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose Tuesday amid speculation Japan's government may provide further stimulus.

For those managing an emerging-markets portfolio or a hedge fund, there could be worse places to put your money.

Line said it plans to price its offering on July 11. That gives investors a two-week window to look at the storm raging outside, and consider shelter.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the author of this story:
    Tim Culpan in Taipei at

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:
    Katrina Nicholas at

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