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Coupang ready to go public

E-commerce giant’s IPO pricing is expected to be determined on March 10

E-commerce firm Coupang’s same-day delivery service Rocket Delivery. (Coupang)
E-commerce firm Coupang’s same-day delivery service Rocket Delivery. (Coupang)
E-commerce giant Coupang’s initial public offering plan has been picking up momentum as the offering price of the company’s shares will be determined next week.

The New York Stock Exchange announced Tuesday (local time) that the expected pricing date for the e-commerce firm’s IPO will be set on March 10. When the offering price is decided as scheduled, Coupang will likely start being traded publicly on the US stock market from March 11.

Hours before the NYSE announcement, The Korea Herald reported, based on comments from a market insider, that the Seoul-headquartered company will go public next week -- on March 10 to be exact. With the latest announcement, it confirms that the e-commerce firm is now ready to make a long-awaited stock market debut.

In a regulatory filing submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Coupang said it plans to offer 120 million shares -- 100 million new Class A shares and 20 million shares to existing investors -- in a price range between $27 and $30.

Coupang will consist of two classes of common stocks, with each Class A share entitled to one voting right and Class B shares with 29 voting rights. Class B shares will only be given to the company’s founder and CEO Kim Bom-suk, the filing showed.

Japanese investment fund operator SoftBank Vision Fund Investments owns a 33.1 percent stake while investment firm Greenoaks Capital and its managing partner Neil Mehta hold 16.6 percent each.

Coupang chief executive Kim Bom-suk owns a 10.2 percent stake, but he will represent 76.7 percent of the voting power as he will hold all of Class B common shares that will be issued through the IPO, according to the filing.

US brokers are said to be carrying out a process to forecast demand for the IPO based on the prices at which Coupang hopes to issue shares.

The listing of the Seoul-headquartered company on the NYSE will bring a boon the local e-commerce industry, according to market analysts.

“The scheduled Coupang IPO will serve as a kind of benchmark when foreign investors evaluate Korean e-commerce firms,” Yoo Seung-woo, an analyst from SK Securities, said.

Coupang has more than 100 logistics facilities in 30 cities across the nation, having expanding its presence in the commerce industry with its signature same-day delivery service Rocket Delivery. The company earned around $12 billion in net revenue in 2020, up 90.8 percent from a year earlier while posting an operating loss of some $500 million, down from $600 million in 2019. Since its foundation in 2010, the firm has been losing money.

By Kim Young-won (
Korea Herald Youtube