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US IPO

Kurly hires Goldman, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley for US listing

Mar 26, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

(Courtesy of Market Kurly) 
(Courtesy of Market Kurly) 

Kurly Inc., the operator of premium grocery delivery platform Market Kurly, will push forward in its US IPO aims with three global investment banks as underwriters.

The startup selected Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley as the underwriters for a public listing in the US within 2021, according to banking sources.

Following suit of its close rival Coupang Corp., Kurly is likely to target listing on the New York Stock Exchange.  

Goldman Sachs recently led Coupang’s listing as the underwriter, while Morgan Stanley is expanding its presence in the Korean IPO market as the co-underwriter of LG Energy Solution Ltd. 

Kurly was founded by its current CEO Sophie Kim, an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst. The company’s CFO Kim Jong-hoon is also a former investment banker at Morgan Stanley.

The startup will soon hold a kick-off meeting with the underwriters to discuss the IPO details.

Kurly’s valuation was around 1 trillion won ($884.8 million) in April of last year when it raised 200 billion won ($177.0 million) in funding  But the industry now expects a much higher figure with the company’s sales skyrocketing since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The online grocer’s revenue last year has reached 952.3 billion won ($842.6 million), up 123.5% from 2019. But its operating loss during the same period came in at 116.2 billion won ($102.8 million), also more than the 2019 figure.

The company’s cumulative deficit is around 260 billion won ($230 million).

Considering its competitor Coupang’s price-sales ratio of around four to five, some industry experts estimate that Kurly could reach an initial market capitalization up to 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion).

Others say that Kurly cannot be compared apple-to-apple with Coupang, which boasts a sales figure more than 10 times that of Kurly as well as a more diversified business model.

Write to Ye-Jin Jun at ace@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.

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