Mobile Game Firm Gumi Announces December 18 IPO In Japan At A $900M Valuation

Japanese mobile game-maker Gumi has announced that it will list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange next month. Gumi actually revealed its intention to list back in 2012, but there has been a rush of speculation over an imminent billion dollar IPO since this summer.

The listing will take place on December 18, according to a filing.  Further documentation shows the company’s share price is set at ¥3,300, that’s around US$28.40. That gives it a rough pre-listing valuation of nearly US$900 million — though that figure could have exceeded $1 billion on paper were it not for a series of struggles for the Japanese yen against the US dollar. (The currency hit a seven year low against the dollar yesterday.)

Gumi’s business is moving forward with some speed, however, and that could nudge its share price sufficiently so that it enters the rapidly-expanding (billion dollar) unicorn club in Asia. Tech In Asia reports that annual revenue doubled to nearly $100 million over the past 12 months, albeit with a small $1.3 million net loss for the last complete financial year.

Best known for its Brave Frontier mobile game, Gumi has around 800 staff located across its Japanese operations, and offices in South Korea, Singapore, China, the U.S., France and — recently opened — Canada.

Investment firm Jafco is listed as its largest shareholder, followed by games giant GREE, Shinsei Bank, and operator NTT Docomo. Zynga is also listed as one of its minor investors.

In opting for an IPO, Gumi has taken a different route to many other Japanese games firm, which have instead exited via acquisitions. Gloops and Pokelabo, for example, sold to Nexon and GREE respectively for big sums back in 2012.

Gumi began its life as a social network for feature phones in 2001, changing its name from Atmovie Pirates K.K. to Gumi in early 2008. Things started to really take shape when it began developing mobile apps in August 2008, initially for popular Japanese social network Mixi’s platform.

Since then, it has partnered with Japanese mobile gaming social networks GREE and DeNA, among others, and released games under its own brand worldwide too. Most recently, in August, it agreed to a deal with Line that saw the Japanese chat app firm buy a 10 percent stake and commit to carrying its games on its network of 500 million registered users.

Like Gumi, there’s been plenty of speculation that Line will also list in Japan, with some reports suggesting that the firm has mulled a dual-IPO in the U.S. at a $10 billion valuation. Line has effectively postponed plans to go public until next, but it is clearly still intend on doing deals. This week it teamed up with Tencent to invest $100 million in Korean games lab 4:33.

Hat tip SerkanAnton and Mona