Japan's Line Corp has priced its IPO at the top of its marketed range, putting the messaging app firm on course to raise up to $1.3 billion and reflecting demand from investors keen on a rare opportunity to invest in a high-profile tech startup.
Line's initial public offering (IPO), the world's biggest for a technology firm this year, offers access to a growth area of tech invariably monopolized by private equity. It also comes as political and economic uncertainty following Britain's vote to exit the European Union pushes money toward relative stability in Asia.
"There's interest on both sides of the Pacific. The tech sector is a hot space at the moment, as there's a lot of private equity stuff that people can't get access to," said Gavin Parry, managing director at Parry International Trading in Hong Kong.
"The Line listing has given access to a sector that's tightly held and perceived as high growth, even if the fundamental economics often don't scratch up."
Private tech firms such as Uber Technologies Inc have attracted high-profile investment in recent months, but many investors keen to buy into the sector have often been frustrated by limited access.
That has made Line's listing a tempting prospect, even though the firm has offered little detail on how it can branch out of Japan and Southeast Asia into markets such as the United States.
Other tech startups also seeking funds publicly include e-commerce services provider Infibeam Incorporation Ltd and antivirus software seller Quick Heal Technologies Ltd. The Indian pair raised a combined $134 million via IPOs earlier this year.