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Japanese mobile messaging service Line eyes IPO at $9.8B valuation

LineLine Corp, the company that owns and operates the free call and messaging app Line, is looking to float an initial public offering (IPO) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, says a Bloomberg report quoting unnamed sources. The offering could value Tokyo-based Line at more than 1 trillion yen ($9.8 billion), as per this report.

Line, controlled by South Korea's Naver Corp., has already submitted the application with the Tokyo exchange, and is planning to appoint Nomura Holdings Inc. as a lead underwriter for the share sale.

The report further says that Line's proposed US listing might happen after its Tokyo debut - mostly in November this year. Line is considering a listing either on the NYSE or Nasdaq.

Line develops and operates the Line app for smartphones. It enables free one-to-one and group messaging, as well as free domestic and international voice and video calls. Line also includes a wide array of social elements such as fun and expressive stickers and family games. The company recently added features such as games, comics, free voice and video calling, and photo & video sharing.

The firm claims the app has grown into a global service used in 230 countries since launching in June 2011. Line has more than 480 million users currently, of which about 85 per cent are located outside Japan.

As of December last year, Line had 15 million users in India. Early this year, Line appointed Damandeep Singh Soni as head of its India business development.

Line competes with WhatsApp, Hike and WeChat among other players in the business.

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