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Companies

South Korea's Coupang jumps 80% in New York market debut

Monster IPO raises $4.6bn, marking win for major investor SoftBank

Coupang has helped transform e-commerce in South Korea by offering "next-day" and even "same-day" and "dawn" delivery of groceries and millions of other items at no extra charge. (Photo by Kotaro Hosokawa)

NEW YORK -- South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang soared 81% at the start of trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday after an initial public offering that sold $4.6 billion worth of shares.

The Seoul-based company opened at $63.50 apiece, almost double its $35.00 price tag at IPO, which already exceeded the previously marked price range. Shares fell back to $49.25 at market close, valuing the company at over $80 billion.

Ahead of its IPO, Coupang had raised its price range for the offering to between $32 and $34 per share from $27 to $30 apiece, in a sign of increased investor appetite for the company.

Coupang's stock market debut marked the biggest initial public offering by a foreign company in the U.S. since Alibaba Group Holding in 2014. The listing also spells a windfall for SoftBank Group, which holds a 35.1% stake in the company.

About $1 billion of the offering's proceeds will go to selling stockholders, including Coupang Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bom Suk Kim. The company will receive $3.4 billion in net proceeds after expenses.

"We've been fortunate to be working with all my colleagues and investors who have been aligned and unwavering on the long-term strategy," Kim said Thursday on CNBC Squawk Box.

"This IPO now gives us resources to remain steadfast on that journey," he said.

The company will use proceeds from the offering to invest in innovations including its "dawn" delivery service, which allows customers to place an order as late as midnight and get it before 7 a.m. the next day, among other purposes, the executive added.

Sometimes called the "Amazon of South Korea," Coupang has helped transform e-commerce in its home country by offering next-day or same-day delivery of groceries and other items at no extra charge. 

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