Line CFO Joon Hwang, Chief Global Officer Jungho Shin, and Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer Jun Masuda ring a ceremonial bell as their company’s IPO begins trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Pic: AP

LINE closes at $41.59 after first day of trading on New York Stock Exchange

POPULAR messaging app LINE has closed its first day on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday at US$41.49, down just 41 cents from the price it started trading at on Thursday morning.

LINE, which is most popular in Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand, raised over US$1.1 billion in its initial public offering (IPO). It’s debut price at the NYSE was 33 percent higher than its IPO price of US$32.84.

According to Venture Beat, trades were 15 percent higher than the IPO price on the gray market on Wednesday, which was an early sign that the demand for LINE shares were high.

LINE was billed as the year’s largest tech IPO, and is the first business to raise more than US$150 million in a tech IPO.

SEE ALSO: LINE app looks to build on Asian popularity with one of the year’s biggest IPOs

The Hong Kong-based managing director for Asia equity sales and trading at Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Keum, told Bloomberg on Tuesday that several buyers began bidding immediately above LINE’s issue price.

He was quoted as saying: “Investors have been waiting for this IPO and have put in trying to get shares. We heard most got little or no allocations.”

Thirty-five million shares are being made available during this round, with 22 million American Depository on the NYSE and 13 million on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). The company reportedly said that another five million shares would be made available if they found the demand was high.

Today, LINE listed on the TSE, with shares soaring almost 50 percent, reported Reuters. The shares first began trading at 48.5 percent above their IPO price, with investors calling the IPO a success.

This comes despite skepticism from fund managers last month who doubted LINE’s growth plan could work. The criticism was mostly directed at the messaging app’s lack of new market growth, which some worry can lead to stagnation.

SEE ALSO: Japan’s LINE faces difficulty in showing growth plan can succeed ahead of biggest tech IPO

But a fund manager at a Japanese asset firm told Reuters today that considering the app is not well-known in the U.S., the IPO has been an accomplishment.