SOUTH Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Inc’s is on track to be the largest listing by a Korean company in a decade. And, like most of the major tech offerings these days, it’s happening in New York.
There are three big reasons that explain why the United States is a better pick for the e-tailer backed by SoftBank Group Corp’s Masayoshi Son. Perhaps, most significantly, New York offers a considerable valuation premium. It also has a deeper, more liquid market, and allows uneven voting rights that would benefit Coupang’s founder, Harvard Business School drop-out Bom Kim.
The US has been the destination of choice for mega tech initial public offerings (IPOs), with 2020’s biggest debuts Airbnb Inc and DoorDash Inc both listed in New York. Chinese e-commerce giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and JD.com Inc also went public there.
Coupang is seeking to raise up to US$3.6bil in its IPO and could garner a value of more than US$50bil. That would make it the largest float by a South Korean company since Samsung Group took its insurance unit public at home in 2010.
Had the loss-making e-commerce firm listed in Korea – which from this month will allow unprofitable companies to go public – Coupang could have fetched a maximum valuation of just US$10bil, according to Suh YongGu, a marketing professor at Sookmyung University.
“The history of capitalism in South Korea is short,…