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IPOs

Shinsegae's e-commerce arm SSG.COM seeks 2022 IPO

Other online platforms -- Market Kurly, Oasis and SK Telecom's 11st Street -- are lining up for 2022 IPOs

By Aug 13, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Shinsegae Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin speaks at the inauguration ceremony of SSG.COM's baseball team in March 2021
Shinsegae Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin speaks at the inauguration ceremony of SSG.COM's baseball team in March 2021


SSG.COM, the e-commerce brand of South Korea's retail titan Shinsegae Inc., has begun the process to go public next year, with its valuation estimated to have doubled to at least 6 trillion won ($5 billion) just two years since its launch.

On Friday, the online platform sent requests for proposals on its initial public offering to domestic and foreign brokerage companies, according to investment banking sources. It plans to select IPO managers next month, the sources said.

Its IPO will pave the way for Affinity Equity Partners and the US-based BlueRun Ventures to cash out of their combined investment of 700 billion won in three years. Both investment companies bought an unspecified stake in SSG.COM in its first business year in 2019 at a valuation of 3.3 trillion won. 

SSG.COM, split off from E-Mart Inc., has absorbed the e-commerce business of Shinsegae department store to become the group-wide online platform.

Currently, the supermarket chain E-Mart holds a 50.1% stake in the e-commerce brand, followed by Shinsegae with a 26.9% stake.

BUSINESS EXPANSION

SSG.COM is at the forefront of Shinsegae's expansionary moves, rapidly gaining online territory amid the contactless shopping boom. Last year, it posted a 37% year-on-year growth in transaction value to 3.9 trillion won, while slashing operating loss by 43% to 46.9 billion won from a year before. 

The prospective IPO follows its acquisition of W Concept, a domestic online fashion platform, earlier this year, aimed at diversifying beyond fresh groceries and luxury products.

E-Mart's $3 billion purchase of eBay Inc.'s South Korean operations are expected to help expand SSG.COM's customer base as well. Last year, eBay Korea's merchandise sales reached 17.2 trillion won, more than four times SSG.COM's.

OTHER E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS' IPO PLANS

Other leading online retailers in the country are working on 2022 IPOs. Buoyed by the rosy outlook for the e-commerce business, they believe now is the right time to extract high valuations. 
 
Kurly Inc., the operator of South Korea's online grocery delivery service Market Kurly, has revived its domestic IPO process this week.

Oasis Corp., a grocery delivery platform, is preparing its stock market debut. Other IPO candidates in 2022 include the 11st Street of mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. and NHN Godo Corp.of NHN Corp., a software developer, according to the sources.

Musinsa, the country's top online fashion retailer, is speculated as another IPO candidate.

Their IPO proceeds will likely be spent in upgrading and expanding their IT and logistics facilities, as well as M&As.

In March of this year, Coupang Corp., the country's No. 2 e-commerce player, raised $4.6 billion in a New York stock market listing. It has been pouring a big chunk of the money into expanding logistics facilities.

Write to Jin-seong Kim at jskim1028@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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