Coupang raises US$4.6b, above target price, in biggest US IPO since Uber

The IPO gives Coupang a market value of US$60 billion.
The IPO gives Coupang a market value of US$60 billion.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (BLOOMBERG) - South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang and a group of existing shareholders have raised US$4.6 billion (S$6.18 billion) in an enlarged offering, making it one of the biggest listings by an Asian company on a US exchange.

Coupang priced 130 million shares at US$35 each on Wednesday (March 10), above a marketed range of US$32 to US$34 apiece, the company said in a statement.

The retailer’s IPO is the biggest on a US exchange since Uber Technologies raised US$8.1 billion in 2019, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Coupang’s offering is also the biggest by any Asia-based company in New York since Alibaba Group Holding’s US$25 billion listing in 2014, the biggest ever in the US.

Coupang and its existing shareholders had planned to sell 120 million shares. The previous range had been boosted from US$27 to US$30 earlier, signaling strong demand from investors.

At US$35 a share, Coupang would have a market value of about US$60 billion, based on the outstanding shares listed in its prospectus. The company sold 100 million new shares while existing investors offloaded 30 million shares, up from the additional 20 million.

SoftBank's Return

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group, its biggest shareholder, is poised to reap a gain of about US$16 billion from the IPO, burnishing the reputation of founder Masayoshi Son in picking successful startups even after a number of missteps.

In November 2018, SoftBank's Vision Fund invested US$2 billion in the company in a deal that valued Coupang at US$9 billion, people familiar with the matter said at the time. That funding followed US$1 billion from SoftBank itself in 2015, valuing the start-up at about US$5 billion.

Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes The Straits Times, has a 0.1 per cent indirect stake in Coupang, having invested US$3.9 million in the start-up in 2014, SPH said last month. It also said the potential IPO is not expected to affect its recurring financial performance.

Founded in 2010 by Bom Kim, a Harvard University dropout, Coupang has grown into Korea's version of Amazon.com.

The company has aggressively expanded its delivery and logistics operations, putting 70 per cent of the country's population within a seven-mile radius of its distribution centers, according to its prospectus filing. Coupang has also invested in new business lines like food delivery and streaming services.

Goldman Sachs Group, Allen & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co are leading the offering. Coupang shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol CPNG.