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Coupang's market value expected to exceed $50 billion

Coupang employees pose for a photo. Korea Times file
Coupang employees pose for a photo. Korea Times file

Korean giant e-commerce aims to raise $3.6 billion through NYSE IPO

By Anna J. Park

The specific market value of Korea's online retailer giant Coupang has finally been set at around $51 billion, as the e-commerce giant disclosed Monday with a filing at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that its Class A common stock price will range between $27 and $30.

"It is currently estimated that the initial public offering price will be between $27 and $30 per share. We have been approved to list our Class A common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CPNG," Coupang's revised S-1/A filing with the U.S. SEC disclosed on Monday read.

Given that the company is expected to sell 120 million Class A shares through its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this spring, Coupang's upcoming IPO could raise up to $3.6 billion of new capital.

While only the company's Class A stocks will be offered for the IPO, the firm's filing on Monday also gave a specific explanation about Class B common stocks, which are exclusively held by founder and CEO Kim Bom. Kim does not have any Common A stocks, but owns 100 percent of Class B shares.

"We have two classes of authorized common stocks, Class A common stocks and Class B common stocks. The rights of the holders of Class A common stocks and Class B common stocks are identical, except with respect to voting and conversion. Each share of Class A common stocks is entitled to one vote per share. Each share of Class B common stocks is entitled to 29 votes per share and is convertible into one share of Class A common stocks," the Korean company's U.S. SEC filing stated.

This will allow the Harvard-educated founder of the e-commerce giant exercise 76.7 percent of the firm's voting control with his Class B stocks.

Coupang Founder and CEO Kim Bom / Courtesy of Coupang
Coupang Founder and CEO Kim Bom / Courtesy of Coupang

Setting aside voting control, SoftBank Vision Fund holds the largest stake in terms of pure number of shares at 39.4 percent, followed by Greenoaks Capital's at 19.8 percent, Greenoaks Capital founder Neil Mehta at 19.8 percent, Coupang CEO Kim Bom at 10.2 percent and Maverick Holdings at 7.7 percent. Coupang set a 180-day lock-up period for shareholders who hold more than 1 percent of the firm's shares.

Local stock analysts also say Coupang's market value assessed through the IPO at NYSE provides an opportunity for other Korean major companies to have their worth reevaluated.

"Coupang's corporate market value is estimated at around 57.3 trillion won ($51 billion) given the number of the firm's entire common stocks and the offering price band released through the SEC filing. This is expected to be a benchmark that affects the market value of local e-commerce businesses," SK Securities analyst Yoo Seung-woo said in his latest report.

Despite its 400 percent revenue growth over the past few years, the e-commerce giant has not yet gleaned operating profits. But market watchers view that the so-called "Amazon of Korea" has much potential for further growth, considering its various profitable business models including Rocket Fresh, Coupang Eats, Coupang Pay and Rocket WOW membership. Coupang's IPO is expected to one of the largest-ever public offerings by an Asia-headquartered company on a U.S. stock market.


Park Ji-won annajpark@koreatimes.co.kr


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