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Coupang raises target price range ahead of NYSE listing

Coupang Corp. headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap)
Coupang Corp. headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap)
Coupang Inc., parent company of South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp., has raised its initial public offering target price range of $32 to $34 apiece, according to a regulatory filing submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

With the revised range, Coupang looks to raise its proceeds by 16 percent more than previously anticipated. The earlier prospectus submitted on March 1 showed the shares were marketed at $27 to $30.

As it has planned to offer 120 million shares -- 100 million new Class A shares in the IPO on the New York Stock Exchange and 20 million shares to existing investors -- the company would be valued at $58 billion at the top end of its indicative price range.

It is not a common practice for companies to revise their IPO price range just before their market debuts in the Korean market, but it is more typical for the US market, according to local market watchers.

Some experts here forecast that Coupang’s offering price would not go below the target price band, considering rosy market expectations on its business growth.

The share price might go up after listing on the NYSE, citing previous cases of Chinese online retailer and Germany-based Delivery Hero.

But some others have suggested that recent reports on deaths of Coupang Corp. delivery workers could pose a new risk.

According to the Taekbae Union, a parcel delivery worker was found dead from apparent overwork early this month. Amid increased demand for deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 16 couriers died last year, the union said.

“Recently companies’ evaluations on environmental, social and governance standards have become very important, especially in the US. The social standard is even more important for consumer service-based firms. So if any issues regarding workers’ human rights continue to arise, it would affect (Coupang’s) reputation and stock price in the long term,” an analyst told The Korea Herald on condition of anonymity.

Coupang’s offering price is expected to be fixed Wednesday, and to start trading a day later.

Goldman Sachs, Allen & Co, JP Morgan and Citigroup serve as the lead underwriters, with HSBC, Deutsche Bank Securities, UBS Investment Bank, Mizuho Securities and CLSA participating in the IPO as members of the underwriter group.

By Jie Ye-eun (  
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