Line Renews Its IPO Application, But May Not List This Year

Messaging app Line has renewed its paperwork for an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, but that doesn’t mean it will list this year. A spokesperson told TechCrunch “there have been no decisions made in regards to the IPO at this point in time. We have no further comments.”

Line, a subsidiary of South Korean Internet giant Naver, said last year that it is postponing its IPO to focus on international expansion. Its previous IPO paperwork expired on Tuesday, the end of Japan’s fiscal year, and the new application may just mean that Line wants to keep open the possibility of a listing, even if it doesn’t have any concrete plans yet.

The messaging app maker’s new CEO Takeshi Idezawa, who officially took the position yesterday, reiterated in a recent interview with WSJ that Line wants to grow its overseas business first before listing on the stock market. This is important for the company because even though Line is the top messaging app in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, it has struggled to gain traction in other countries.

Furthermore, its most recent earnings report fell short of analysts’ expectations because of slowing sales from Line’s core gaming business. This means that the company is now juggling its overseas growth plans with developing new streams of revenue in its key markets by adding a host of features, including mobile payments, streaming video and music and online-to-offline services like taxi-calling.

While waiting to list until it has realized some of its growth targets makes sense, Line may find itself in a catch-22 because the proceeds from an IPO may actually help it achieve some of its expansion goals more quickly. So it makes sense that the company wants to keep that option available by refiling its paperwork, even if it hasn’t made a final decision.