Coupang makes the biggest IPO debut in the US this year with a $109 billion valuation

It is a great debut at the New York Stock Exchange for Korean e-commerce startup Coupang as it valued around $109 billion on March 11. The Softbank Group backed startup had announced its US IPO (initial public offering) on February 12. Coupang’s IPO is the largest IPO in the US market so far this year, and it is also the largest IPO of any company outside the United States since Alibaba Group Holding in 2014. Coupang’s IPO offering surpassed dating app Bumble’s Wall Street debut that raised more than $2 billion last month.

Coupang’s share price increased by 81% to open at $63.50. The company had priced its 130 million shares in the IPO at $35 per share, higher than the marketing range $32-$34 per share. Coupang’s shares ended their first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $49.25 on Thursday.

Coupang had earlier aimed for a valuation of around $50 billion for its debut. Now, with a raised valuation it is set to give more profit to its investors. SoftBank’s Vision Fund holds 35.1% of Coupang. This dashing debut will bolster fortunes for the Vision Fund. Coupang’s other investors include BlackRock Inc, Sequoia Capital and billionaire investor Bill Ackman.

The US’s IPO market is at its strongest, and investors are putting their money in shares of technology-driven companies that have benefitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seoul-based Coupang is considered South Korea’s answer to Amazon. Coupang is the top-ranked e-commerce company in South Korea in 2020, as per Euromonitor, with a 19.2% market share.

Founded in 2010 by Bom Kim, who studied at Harvard University, Coupang is known for its “rocket delivery” services. Kim’s personal worth is now $8.6 billion post the company’s public debut. Coupang has also expanded its footprint to Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Seattle.

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