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Vietnamese internet company VNG seeks $150 million in US listing, sources say

Vietnamese internet company VNG seeks $150 million in US listing, sources say

In a move that underscores the escalating trend of Southeast Asian startups seeking Wall Street listings, Vietnam’s prominent internet company, VNG Corp (VNZ.HNO), is gearing up to raise a substantial $150 million through a U.S. stock market debut, as reported by two reliable sources. Riding the momentum generated by VinFast’s spectacular market entry, interest in such offerings has surged, prompting VNG to file for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq under the entity VNG Ltd, a disclosure submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed. The company is eyeing a trading premiere around the close of September or early October, according to insider information.

A noteworthy detail about VNG Corp is its status as Vietnam’s inaugural unicorn, a title reserved for startups attaining a valuation of $1 billion or more. The company, founded in 2004 and headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, solidified its aspiration for an IPO with a preliminary agreement with Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) back in 2017. This upcoming listing is significant not only for VNG but also for the broader Vietnamese tech landscape, marking the country’s pioneering venture into the U.S. technology listing domain.

VNG Corp has achieved prominence across various sectors, including online gaming, payments, cloud services, and Vietnam’s prevailing messaging application, Zalo. It enjoys investment support from notable entities like Tencent (0700.HK), a major player in Chinese social media and gaming, and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek (TEM.UL). Although the company refrained from commenting on the precise fundraising target, the move to go public in the U.S. highlights its ambitions to garner resources for general corporate requirements, paying off existing debts, and philanthropic efforts, among other objectives.

The recent soaring trajectory of VinFast, a Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer, following its debut on the U.S. stock market has invigorated the confidence of potential investors. VinFast’s shares soared, propelling its market capitalization to a staggering $86 billion. This positive market reception, even for a loss-making entity with limited publicly available shares, could fuel momentum for other Southeast Asian startups eying U.S. IPOs. Analysts contend that this ripple effect could prove instrumental in encouraging companies like VNG Corp to leverage the global capital markets for expansion and growth.

Another Southeast Asian company contemplating a similar move is DoubleDragon Corp (DD.PS), a real estate firm from the Philippines. In August, it signaled its interest in potentially listing its Singapore-based subsidiary, Hotel101 Global, on the Nasdaq via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). This collective activity indicates a burgeoning trend of international listings, buoyed by the presence of influential players in the region’s business landscape.

Chairman and co-founder of VStock Transfer, Seth Farbman, shared his perspective, acknowledging the uncertainty inherent in startups’ IPO plans while highlighting the promising outlook for Southeast Asian startups aiming to expand their horizons and access global capital markets. Notably, VNG Corp’s filing detailed its intention to offer approximately 21.7 million shares, with the price range still awaiting finalization.

Major financial institutions including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Bank of America are listed as underwriters for VNG Corp’s IPO, as indicated in the official filing. As developments unfold, the enthusiasm surrounding VNG’s U.S. listing endeavor remains palpable, as evidenced by the impressive 11% surge in shares of VNG on the Hanoi Stock Exchange’s UPCoM, which functions as a prelude to public listing, on a recent Thursday. The trajectory of VNG Corp, from its inception as Vietnam’s pioneer unicorn to its strategic IPO pursuit, showcases the growing ambition and potential of Southeast Asian startups to make a significant mark on the global stage.


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