ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
IPO

South Korea's Coupang raises $4.6bn in New York stock listing

SoftBank-backed e-commerce company makes largest US IPO since Alibaba

Coupang’s fulfillment center in Chilgok, South Korea. The company is conducting an initial public offering in New York on March 11. (Photo by Jean Chung) 

SEOUL -- Coupang is raising $4.55 billion in its listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the biggest initial public offering by a foreign company in the U.S. since Alibaba Group Holding in 2014.

South Korea's largest e-commerce company confirmed that it is offering 130 million shares at $35 per share, above the range of $32 to $34 it indicated in a stock exchange filing earlier in the week. The shares will start trading on Thursday.

The listing is a windfall for Japan's SoftBank Group. Its Vision Fund is the largest shareholder in Coupang, with a 35.1% stake, which will drop to 33.1% after the IPO.

"Coupang, one of the largest Asian e-commerce companies, offers its 130 million shares of Class A stock for $35 per share," said the company in a statement. "The stock will be traded at the NYSE from March 11."

Founder and CEO Bom Suk Kim is the third-largest shareholder, with a 10.2% stake, but will retain control of the company as his Class B shares give him over 70% of the voting rights. San Francisco-based Greenoaks Capital Partners is the No. 2 shareholder, with a 16.6% stake.

The pricing announcement comes as South Korea's e-commerce market expands quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic. Government data showed that online transactions jumped to 161 trillion won last year, up from 133 trillion won in 2019.

Analysts say SoftBank's backing -- the company invested a total of $3 billion in Coupang -- helped pave the way for the South Korean company to list in New York. SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son's support for Coupang founder and CEO Kim also helped raise the company's profile.

"I have been told that Chairman Masayoshi Son rates CEO Bom as highly as he did Alibaba's Jack Ma," said Shin Jang-sup, a professor of economics at the National University of Singapore. Alibaba has been SoftBank's most successful investment.

Coupang is well known for its quick service, dubbed Rocket Delivery, which delivers products within 24 hours. The company also operates its own logistics and fulfillment centers nationwide, enabling quick delivery of products.

However, the company has faced questions over its working conditions after the recent deaths of two workers, a delivery driver and warehouse worker. Coupang denies any wrongdoing, but has said it will "work harder" to ensure worker health and safety.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more