SoftBank-backed Coupang aims to deliver mammoth U.S. IPO at over $50-billion valuation

(Reuters) - South Korea’s Coupang Inc, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp, is targeting a blockbuster stock market debut that would value the e-commerce giant at well over $50 billion and make it the largest U.S. initial public offering this year.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

In a regulatory filing on Monday, Coupang said it would price its offering between $27 and $30 a share. At the upper end of that range, Coupang will raise as much as $3.6 billion.

The massive offering comes as U.S. capital markets gear up for another banner year for new listings, underscoring unprecedented investor appetite for technology companies, which have seen sales skyrocket during the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Korea’s e-commerce market was estimated to be worth $90.1 billion in 2020, an annual growth of 22.3%, and is expected to reach $141.8 billion in 2024 at a compound annual growth rate of 12%, data and analytics company GlobalData has said.

The IPO would also mark a major win for SoftBank’s $100-billion Vision Fund, furthering a turnaround that has seen the fund swing rapidly from huge losses to record profit.

Founded in 2010 by Harvard graduate Bom Suk Kim, Seoul-based Coupang made a splash in Korea with its ‘Rocket Delivery’ service, which promised delivery within 24 hours, shaking family-owned retail conglomerates such as Shinsegae and Lotte.

The projected IPO valuation range of $46 billion to $51 billion would represent a significant jump from Coupang’s last private fundraise in 2018 when it was valued at roughly $9 billion, according to data provider PitchBook.

Apart from SoftBank, which has invested billions in Coupang, other major investors include BlackRock Inc, venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital and billionaire investor Bill Ackman.

Coupang plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CPNG”.

Goldman Sachs, Allen & Co, JP Morgan and Citigroup are the lead underwriters for the offering.

Reporting by Anirban Sen and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila