Messaging app Line has tapped investment firms Nomura Holdings and Morgan Stanley as it prepares for an initial public offering, Bloomberg reports.
The Tokyo-based company could list on two exchanges—the Tokyo Stock Exchange and either the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq—as early as November, according to the report. Though the size of the IPO hasn't been determined, Bloomberg says Line's market value could exceed 1 trillion yen, or US$9.8 billion.
The most popular messaging app in Japan, Line was created after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami wiped out telecommunication services in the country. As of April, it had 400 million subscribers, and the company has ambitious plans to grow its base to 1 billion users in 2015.
The company's IPO is the latest example of the messaging space heating up. Earlier this year, Facebook made its largest acquisition to date by purchasing WhatsApp, which in contrast to Line has 190 million monthly active users, for $16 billion. At Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday, the company announced a number of enhancements to iMessage in iOS 8, including audio and video messages, location sharing, the ability to add or remove people from ongoing conversations, and the option to mute alerts for specific threads. In addition, beleaguered BlackBerry is banking on its BBM messaging app to find new monetization plans—and hopefully turn the company around.
[Image: Flickr user Georgie Pauwels]