Line’s shares jump 26 percent in IPO, but the messaging service has serious hurdles ahead
When cloud software company #Twilio went public last month with a nice share price pop, tech industry observers mostly concluded that it’s now safe for unicorns to follow suit. Today’s tech IPO — the public offering of the Japanese messaging service Line — will probably lead Silicon Valley to the same conclusion. It’s the biggest tech stock offering of the year (so far), and Line’s stock rose more 26 percent to close around $41.50 a share. But while Line’s IPO proves that there’s a healthy appetite among investors for tech stocks, that’s not necessarily a vote of confidence in Line’s long-term business. The company initially wanted to go public around the time #Alibaba did in 2014, but then scrapped those plans (twice), hoping for more favorable market conditions. Since then, Line’s user growth has slowed down tremendously. The all-in-one messaging, commerce and media app dominates in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, but rivals like #Facebook and #Snapchat are catching up.