SoftBank-backed Korean unicorn Coupang prepares for IPO as soon as 2021

Photograph: Bloomberg

South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is preparing for an initial public offering as soon as 2021, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Seoul-based company, founded in 2010 by Chief Executive Officer Bom Kim and said to be valued at $9 billion in late 2018, has begun working on tax structuring among other changes as it eyes a public listing next year, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. A company representative declined to comment.

Last month, Coupang — which is backed by investors including SoftBank Group Corp.’s giant Vision Fund, BlackRock and Sequoia Capital — appointed Alberto Fornaro as the chief financial officer to succeed Richard Song. Earlier in 2019, it hired Jay Jorgensen, a former Walmart Inc. executive, as general counsel and chief compliance officer.

In November 2018, the Vision Fund invested $2 billion in the company in a deal that valued Coupang at $9 billion, people familiar with the matter said at the time. That funding followed $1 billion from SoftBank itself in 2015, valuing the startup at about $5 billion.

Korea’s e-commerce market is the fifth-largest in the world and on track to be the third-largest by 2021, behind only China and the U.S., according to Coupang.

Coupang — whose app has been downloaded more than 25 million times — had more than $10 billion in gross merchandise value on its platform as of Dec. 31, according to a person familiar with the company. Sales increased more than 60% year-over-year in 2019, the person said.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.