NEW YORK (REUTERS) – South Korea’s Coupang Inc, which is backed by SoftBank Group, is targeting a blockbuster stock market debut that would value the e-commerce giant at well over US$50 billion (S$66.4 billion) and make it the largest US initial public offering this year.

In a regulatory filing on Monday (March 1), Coupang said it would price its offering between US$27 and US$30 a share. At the upper end of that range, Coupang will raise as much as US$3.6 billion.

The massive offering comes as US capital markets gear up for another banner year for new listings, underscoring unprecedented investor appetite for technology companies, which have seen sales skyrocket during the Covid-19 pandemic.

South Korea’s e-commerce market was estimated to be worth US$90.1 billion in 2020, an annual growth of 22.3%, and is expected to reach US$141.8 billion in 2024 at a compound annual growth rate of 12%, data and analytics company GlobalData has said.

The IPO would also mark a major win for SoftBank’s US$100-billion Vision Fund, furthering a turnaround that has seen the fund swing rapidly from huge losses to record profit.

Founded in 2010 by Harvard graduate Bom Suk Kim, Seoul-based Coupang made a splash in Korea with its ‘Rocket Delivery’ service, which promised delivery within 24 hours, shaking family-owned retail conglomerates such as Shinsegae and Lotte.

The projected IPO valuation range of US$46 billion to US$51 billion would represent a significant jump from Coupang’s last private fundraise in 2018 when it was valued at roughly US$9 billion, according to data provider PitchBook.

Apart from SoftBank, which has invested billions in Coupang, other major investors include BlackRock Inc, venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital and billionaire investor Bill Ackman.

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Coupang plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CPNG”.

Goldman Sachs, Allen & Co, JP Morgan and Citigroup are the lead underwriters for the offering.





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