Korean e-commerce startup Coupang set to enter US market with IPO

Korean e-commerce startup Coupang Inc. filed for its US IPO (initial public offering) on February 12th. Coupang is aiming for a valuation of around $50 billion in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Coupang’s IPO will be the largest in New York exchange by a company based outside the United States since Alibaba Group Holding in 2014, Dealogic data showed.

The e-commerce giant is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and founded in 2010 by Harvard graduate Bom Kim. Coupang is popular in Korea for its ‘Rocket Delivery’ service, which promises delivery within 24 hours of ordering. Coupang was valued at $9 billion in its last private fundraising round in 2018, according to data provider PitchBook.

With the latest IPO plan, Coupang is hoping to cash in on strong demand for high-growth tech stocks in the market as it reported a near-doubling of annual revenue and narrowing losses. In a regulatory filing, Coupang said its total revenue jumped 91% in 2020 to $11.97 billion, while net losses narrowed to $474.9 million from $698.8 million.

The company, viewed as a rival in South Korea to e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc, received $1 billion in funding from SoftBank in 2015 and $2 billion from its Vision Fund in 2018.

Coupang’s other investors include BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and billionaire investor Bill Ackman. The US IPO market is at its strongest in more than two decades, and investors are flocking to buy shares in technology companies that have benefited during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coupang plans to list under the symbol “CPNG”. It has yet to provide a target asking price for its shares. Goldman Sachs, Allen & Co, JP Morgan, BofA Securities and Citigroup are among the underwriters.

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