Bill Ackman-Seeded Coupang, the ‘South Korean Amazon,’ Debuts IPO With a Bang

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lee Jae-Won/AFLO/Shutterstock (11795894h)Coupang : The headquarters of South Korean e-commerce firm Coupang in Seoul, South Korea.
Lee Jae-Won/AFLO/Shutterstock / Lee Jae-Won/AFLO/Shutterstock

Coupang, one of Asia’s largest e-commerce companies, went public with a bang on the New York Stock Exchange last week, scoring the biggest IPO year to date.

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The South Korean e-commerce giant, often deemed the South Korean Amazon, soared about 80% to $63.50 when it opened for trading on the NYSE after pricing pre-trading at $35 per share, according to Seeking Alpha.

And the shares of the SoftBank-backed firm ended their first day of trading on the NYSE at $49.25 on Thursday, a 41% jump over the $35 IPO price, CNN reports. The IPO raised nearly $4.6 billion, and with the first day spike, it gives the company a market capitalization of $84.5 billion, CNN adds.

The stock was up 2% in early morning trading.

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Harvard University grad Bom Suk Kim founded the company in 2010 and serves as its CEO.

David Frankel, co-founder of seed-stage venture capital fund Founder Collective and a Coupang seed investor, said in a tweet last week that additional investors included Bill Ackman, CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, and Rose Park Advisors.

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“I only had the chance to invest in Bom’s vision because Bill introduced us and asked me for an opinion. I simply cannot thank him enough. Bill please send any future grad students my way,” Frankel tweeted.

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He added in a tweet that when Coupang pitched him the idea, “each investor update historic investor update contained gobsmacking facts about expansion into new business lines like grocery and media, innovations in operational capacity like eliminating huge amounts of cardboard packaging, and that rate of execution has paid off!”

This morning, Ackman tweeted, “I was a very fortunate day one investor in @Coupang. As a result of its incredible success, 26.5m shares of its stock will benefit humanity as I gave all of the shares to @PershingSqFdn, a DAF, and another non-profit. Thank you to Bom and the Coupang team on behalf of all of us!”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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