at CNBC.com (Jul 31, 2014)
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Tue, Sep. 23, 4:01 PM
- Asian mobile messaging giant Line had filed to go public and Tokyo and (reportedly) New York, and was believed to be aiming for a ~$10B valuation. The postponement of its IPO comes in spite of Alibaba's blockbuster debut last week.
- Hwang In-joon, CFO of parent Naver (OTC:NHNCF): "Market conditions on their own don't look bad, but the real question is whether now is the right time for us to step forward ... And we ultimately decided that it's better to further build up the business than what it is this year." He adds IPO preparations are continuing.
- Line, much less shy than WhatsApp about monetizing its platform through value-added services (stickers, games, paid accounts), had Q2 revenue of $176M, +26% Q/Q. Registered accounts (different from MAUs) totaled 490M as of July.
- HMC Investment estimates Line has 230M MAUs; WhatsApp recently topped 600M.
Tue, Aug. 26, 6:17 PM
- The WSJ reports leading VC firm Kleiner Perkins has committed to invest in Snapchat at nearly a $10B valuation. Kleiner reportedly "committed to invest up to $20 million in May," and at least one "strategic investor" is also said to be taking part in the funding round.
- Alibaba was previously reported to be eying an investment in Snapchat at a similar valuation, but talks are believed to have ended without a deal. Facebook was famously rumored to have made a $3B+ offer for the ephemeral messaging service before turning its sights on WhatsApp.
- The WSJ also reports Snapchat now has 100M+ monthly active users (MAUs). That still leaves it behind Instagram's 200M+, Twitter's 271M (at the end of Q2), WeChat's 438M (also at the end of Q2), and WhatsApp's 600M+. Snapchat reportedly plans to monetize its users through an ad service later this year.
- Naver's (OTC:NHNCF) Line unit, looking to go public in NYC and Tokyo at a ~$10B valuation, must be pleased to see the report. Line is closing in on 500M registered users (different from MAUs) for its mobile messaging service.
Fri, Aug. 8, 1:54 PM
- The Chinese government is requiring mobile messaging users with public accounts (celebrities, businesses, etc.) to register with their real names. It's also banning the sharing of "unauthorized" political news.
- The curbs are aimed in large part at Tencent's (OTCPK:TCEHY) WeChat, which has grown like wildfire and evolved into a platform for gaming, e-commerce, and much else. WeChat had 396M monthly active users at the end of Q1; Tencent should report a figure well above 400M during its Aug. 13 Q2 report.
- SINA's Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) has long been dealing with government crackdowns. A number of Weibo users have defected to WeChat in past quarters, while citing greater privacy and lighter censorship.
- At the same time, China is flat-out banning two Korean WeChat rivals: KakaoTalk and Naver's (OTC:NHNCF) Line. Line, the top mobile messaging platform in Japan, is set to go public in NYC and Tokyo.
Wed, Jul. 30, 10:47 AM
- Bloomberg reports Alibaba (Pending:BABA) and other investors are in talks with Snapchat to invest in the ephemeral messaging service at a potential $10B valuation.
- Last year, Snapchat was reported to have rejected a $3B+ offer for Facebook; one report stated Google made a $4B offer.
- The reported valuation is on par with the pre-IPO target set by Asian mobile messaging giant Line (OTC:NHNCF), which has far more users (470M+ registered) and revenue ($338M in 2013) than Snapchat. It's also equal to 53% of the $19B price paid by Facebook for WhatsApp (500M+ active users).
- Alibaba has been on a huge investment spree ahead of its IPO, which is expected to arrive at some point after Labor Day.
Fri, Jul. 18, 6:59 PM
- Bloomberg reports Asian mobile messaging Line (#1 in Japan) has confidentially filed for a U.S. IPO. Morgan Stanley is said to be running the offering.
- Line, controlled by South Korea's Naver (OTC:NHNCF), has already filed to go public in Tokyo, while reportedly aiming for a ~$10B valuation. Pursuing a simultaneous NYC offering would allow the company to tap into strong U.S. interest in mobile messaging plays - interested heightened by the Facebook/WhatsApp deal.
- With 470M+ registered users (not the same as active users), Line appears to be the world's 3rd-most popular mobile messaging platform, behind WhatsApp (500M+ monthly active users) and Tencent's WeChat (396M MAUs at the end of Q1, with the lion's share in China).
- Line had 2013 revenue of $338M, and Q1 revenue of $143M (up over 3x Y/Y).
- Previous: Line reportedly prepping IPO
Tue, Jun. 3, 1:38 PM
- Line, owner of one of Asia's most popular mobile messaging apps (#1 in Japan), is working with Morgan Stanley and Nomura on an IPO that could arrive by November, Bloomberg reports. A dual U.S./Japanese listing is reportedly being mulled.
- Line, controlled by Korea's Naver (NHNCF), had 400M registered users (not the same as active users) as of April, up from 300M in November 2013 and 200M in July. Market leader WhatsApp recently topped 500M monthly active users.
- Whereas WhatsApp only monetizes its services through subscriptions, Line has been comfortable monetizing via games and stickers. 2013 revenue totaled $338M, and Q1 revenue $143M.
- With Facebook set to pay ~$19B for WhatsApp, a $10B+ valuation could still be in the cards for Line, in spite of the recent momentum stock selloff.
Thu, Feb. 20, 1:28 PM
- TD Securities has doubled its estimated valuation for BBM to $800M following the Facebook/WhatsApp deal, and raised its BlackBerry (BBRY +5.5%) PT to $10.50 from $9.50.
- TD observes Facebook is paying $42/user for WhatsApp ($19B for 450M MAUs), and that assigning a similar multiple to BBM's 80M MAUs would make the business worth $3.36B ($6.41/share). But (while believing the deal highlights the value of messaging platforms) it doesn't think BBM and WhatsApp's valuations are "really comparable," given the latter's smaller scale.
- Wells Fargo notes another messaging platform, Viber, was recently sold at a price of $8.57/user ($900M for 105M MAUs), and is skeptical BlackBerry will try to sell BBM rather than monetize it.
- While BlackBerry rallies on account of the deal, WhatsApp rivals Tencent (TCEHY -3.2%) and Naver (NHNCF -8.1%) have sold off overseas on worries about tougher competition. Tencent's WeChat is the dominant mobile messaging platform in China, and Naver's Line rules the roost in Japan.
- Yesterday: BlackBerry rises AH due to Facebook/WhatsApp
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