Japanese marketplace app Mercari launches $1.1 billion IPO

TOKYO (Reuters) - Flea market app operator Mercari Inc has received approval for an initial public offering in Tokyo that will raise up to $1.1 billion, a regulatory filing showed on Monday, giving investors a rare chance to buy into a Japanese unicorn.

Mercari, which offers a popular smartphone app that allows people to trade used items online, will list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers market on June 19, the filing with the Finance Ministry showed.

At Mercari’s indicative price range of 2,200-2,700 yen per share, the company will sell up to 117.6 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in shares and have a market value of 365.4 billion yen ($3.3 billion) upon listing.

The final price will be determined on June 11.

Founded in 2013, Mercari is a rare example of a unicorn - a startup with a valuation above $1 billion - in a country that is known for successful giant corporations but lacks a start-up scene.

The company is widely expected to use the funds from its IPO to finance overseas expansion. Gaining traction in the United States is crucial for Mercari’s global success, its chief executive told Reuters last month. [nL4N1RE09P]

Mercari's U.S. business is headed by former Facebook Inc FB.O executive John Lagerling, who was hired last year. The app has been downloaded over 30 million times in the United States, versus 60 million in Japan.

Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Thomas Wilson; Editing by Himani Sarkar