Naver’s Line keeps growing as IPO consideredLine Corporation, the mobile-messaging service controlled by Korea’s Naver, may meet its target of having 500 million users by the year’s end as the company considers whether to hold an initial public offering.
About 85 percent of the application’s current 370 million users are based outside Japan, Tokyo-based Line said in a statement yesterday. The company has more than 10 million users in the United States and Malaysia, Chief Operating Officer Takeshi Idezawa said during a briefing.
SoftBank is seeking to buy a stake in Line, people with knowledge of the matter said. A tie-up may benefit Japan’s third-largest carrier by attracting younger people and helping boost usage, Yoshiyuki Kinoshita, a Tokyo-based analyst at Merrill Lynch, said yesterday. SoftBank hasn’t offered to buy a stake, Idezawa said yesterday.
Services that rely on Internet access to let users send messages or make calls are displacing traditional text messaging services offered by wireless carriers. This month, Facebook said it would pay as much as $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp, just days after Japan’s Rakuten agreed to pay $900 million for Viber.