Line said to delay setting IPO price range amid Brexit turmoil

Tokyo: Japan’s most popular messaging service, plans to delay the setting of a price range for its initial public offering after Britain’s vote to exit the European Union (EU) sent global markets into turmoil, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Tokyo-based company may proceed with the pricing as soon as on Tuesday, said the person, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Line said earlier this month it is seeking to raise as much as ¥113 billion ($1.1 billion) from the sale of new and existing shares, which would make it the largest IPO by a technology company this year. It said at the time it would set the price range on 27 June and the final price on 11 July.

Since then however, the vote in Britain has rattled markets around the world. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 7.9% on Friday after the vote, while markets in the US and Europe also slid. Japan’s yen gained as much as 18% against the British pound, the most since at least 1971.

Investor interest in the offering is high and Line does plan to proceed with its IPO as it assesses the market conditions, said the person. The company is raising funds as it sees increasing challenges from Facebook Inc.’s Messenger and WhatsApp and from China’s WeChat service.

“An announcement related to the price range will be disclosed at some point after 3:00PM on Monday,” said Shin Ichikawa, a spokesman for Line.

Nomura Holdings Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are the lead underwriters.