ECONOMY

South Korea’s Coupang Seeks Up to $3.6 Billion in New York IPO

South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Inc. is seeking to raise as much as $3.6 billion from an initial public offering in New York, which will rank as one of the largest-ever Asian listings in the U.S.

Seoul-based Coupang and some existing shareholders are offering 120 million shares at $27 to $30 each, according to a filing Monday. At the top end of the range, Coupang will be valued at as much as $51 billion based on the number of shares outstanding.

Founded in 2010 by Chief Executive Officer Bom Kim, Coupang has grown faster than the e-commerce market amid fierce competition from retail conglomerates and startups. It has also aggressively expanded its delivery and logistics businesses.

A successful IPO would be another windfall for billionaire Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. The Japanese conglomerate invested $1 billion in Coupang in 2015 and its Vision Fund put in another $2 billion in 2018, pushing its valuation to about $9 billion. The SoftBank Vision Fund will own about 37% of the company’s Class A shares after the offering, according to Monday’s filing.

The listing would be the fourth-biggest on record by an Asian company on a U.S. exchange and the largest since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25 billion IPO in 2014, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It also comes in what is expected to be a record year for Korean listings.

Coupang is offering 100 million new Class A shares in the IPO, and 20 million shares are being offloaded by existing investors. Each Class A share is entitled to one vote, while the Class B shares held by Coupang’s founder are entitled to 29 votes. Kim will hold about 76.7% of the voting power at Coupang upon completion of the listing.

Kim, a Harvard University dropout, has been considering an IPO for years, but had held off until now so he could focus on expanding the business. Coupang, known as “Korea’s Amazon,” has invested in new business models including food delivery and streaming services.

BlackRock Inc. and Greenoaks Capital are also among Coupang’s investors. The company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CPNG.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Allen & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, UBS Group AG, Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and CLSA are working on the offering. Bank of America Corp., which was listed as one of the underwriters in a February registration document, didn’t appear in Monday’s filing.

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