South Korean E-commerce Giant Coupang Files for $1 Billion U.S. IPO

The retail and delivery giant saw sales nearly double in 2020.
Jennifer ChanFeb 12,2021,21:12

South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang has filed for a $1 billion IPO in New York.

The SoftBank-backed company, which has raised billions as a private startup earlier, seeks to become publicly traded on Wall Street along Asian giants Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA; HKEX: 9988), JD.com (Nasdaq: JD; HKEX: 9618), and Pinduoduo (Nasdaq: PDD), not to mention Bezos’ Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN).

In a deal underwritten by a slew of big banks with Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC as a representative, Coupang has immediately set its target high, exceeding the usual $100 million placeholder amount 10 times.

The offering is also secured by Allen & Company LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, BofA Securities, Inc., Citigroup Group Global Markets Inc., HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., UBS Securities LLC, Mizuho Securities USA LLC, and CLSA Ltd.

In 2020, Coupang saw sales jump 91% year-over-year to $12 billion. Net loss narrowed to $474.9 million from $698.8 million in 2019.

Coupang boasts South Korea’s largest directly employed delivery fleet counting 15,000 full-time drivers as of December 2020, offers dawn and same-day delivery for items such as fresh groceries, and free next-day delivery nationwide. Notable, it uses eco-bags instead of boxes for all its packages, according to today’s filing with the SEC.

The company was founded by Harvard graduate Bom Suk Kim in 2010. Just to name a few, among Coupang’s top management is former Secretary to the President of the Republic of Korea for Legal Affairs Hanseung Kang and Gaurav Anand, who formerly served at Amazon and Flipkart. American academic, financier, and former governor of the Federal Reserve System, Kevin Warsh, holds a seat on Coupang’s board.

In addition to Japan’s SoftBank, existing investors in Coupang include U.S.-based Sequoia Capital and BlackRock Inc, as well as billionaire Bill Ackman. As Reuters reported, the South Korean giant is aiming for a $50 billion valuation at IPO.

The company expects to become publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CPNG.”

Topics:coupang, e-commerce, IPO
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