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SoftBank-Backed Coupang Prices U.S. IPO Above Target

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Crystal Tse and Julia Fioretti
·2 min read
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(Bloomberg) --

South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Inc. and a group of existing shareholders have raised $4.6 billion in an enlarged offering, making it one of the biggest listings by an Asian company on a U.S. exchange.

Coupang priced 130 million shares at $35 each on Wednesday, above a marketed range of $32 to $34 apiece, the company said in a statement.

The retailer’s IPO is the biggest on a U.S. exchange since Uber Technologies Inc. raised $8.1 billion in 2019, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Coupang’s offering is also the biggest by any Asia-based company in New York since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25 billion listing in 2014, the biggest ever in the U.S.

Coupang and its existing shareholders had planned to sell 120 million shares. The previous range had been boosted from $27 to $30 earlier, signaling strong demand from investors.

At $35 a share, Coupang would have a market value of about $60 billion, based on the outstanding shares listed in its prospectus. The company sold 100 million new shares while existing investors offloaded 30 million shares, up from the additional 20 million.

SoftBank’s Return

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp., its biggest shareholder, has reaped a gain of more than $16 billion from the IPO, burnishing the reputation of founder Masayoshi Son in picking successful startups even after a number of missteps.

In November 2018, SoftBank’s Vision Fund invested $2 billion in the company in a deal that valued Coupang at $9 billion, people familiar with the matter said at the time. That funding followed $1 billion from SoftBank itself in 2015, valuing the startup at about $5 billion.

Founded in 2010 by Bom Kim, a Harvard University dropout, Coupang has grown into Korea’s version of Amazon.com Inc.

The company has aggressively expanded its delivery and logistics operations, putting 70% of the country’s population within a seven-mile radius of its distribution centers, according to its prospectus filing. Coupang has also invested in new business lines like food delivery and streaming services.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Allen & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are leading the offering. Coupang shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol CPNG.

(Updates with official pricing in first and second paragraphs.)

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