Call it a big fish in a small pond: With 2016 on track to record the fewest U.S. IPOs since the Great Recession, Line Corp. is officially the biggest of the bunch. The Japanese messaging app maker began trading Thursday after raising $1.14 billion in its highly anticipated IPO earlier this week, making Line the biggest company to go public on a U.S. stock exchange so far this year.
Line stock, which is listed under the ticker symbol “LN,” surged as much as 36% in its debut—one of the best first-day performances of this year’s IPOs. The stock was up nearly 26% near market close.
There have only been 43 U.S. IPOs, including Line, so far in 2016, 59% fewer than there were at this time last year, according to Renaissance Capital. In total, the 2016 deals have raised only $7.4 billion, down 60% from the same period in 2015. Jitters about the economy and a rocky stock market scared off many companies from going public earlier this year. For the first time in years, not a single tech company held a U.S. IPO in the first quarter of this year. There were no tech IPOs in the first quarter of this year, with many potential candidates waiting to see the outcome of the U.K.’s Brexit vote in June. Now, as U.S. stocks are hitting new record highs, more private companies may decide to brave the public markets.
Line is the third billion-dollar IPO in the U.S. in 2016, according to Dealogic. The others include MGM Growth Properties, a casino real estate company that went public in April, and US Foods Holding, a food service distributor that raised more than $1 billion in May.
Worldwide, Line is the largest IPO of a technology company since First Data FDC 2.30% went public in October in a $2.8 billion deal. But among all industries, there were three IPOs larger than Line’s on foreign stock exchanges to date in 2016, including Dong Energy, a Danish utility that last month raised the equivalent of $2.6 billion in Copenhagen; China Zheshang Bank, which raised $1.7 billion in Hong Kong in March; and Dutch insurer ASR Nederland, which raised $1.2 billion in June.
There are several other major upcoming IPOs in the U.S., but none as big as Line. Tomorrow, AdvancePierre Foods Holding, a ready-made sandwich producer, is expected to begin trading after an IPO that seeks to raise nearly $460 million, potentially cracking the top 10 offerings this year. And next week Patheon, a drug development services company, aims to go public in an IPO that could raise almost $719 million, which would put it among the top five deals.
Shares of Line will also trade on the Tokyo stock exchange starting Friday.
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