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E-commerce

SoftBank sells part of Coupang shares for $1.7 bn

Vision Fund offloads US-listed Coupang for $29.685 per share, below IPO price of $35: Nikkei

By Sep 17, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son (left) and Coupang founder and CEO Kim Bom-seok
SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son (left) and Coupang founder and CEO Kim Bom-seok


Vision Fund, led by SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son, has sold one-tenth of its shares in South Korea's e-commerce platform Coupang Inc. for $1.69 billion, according to the Nikkei on Friday.

The newspaper reported that the investment fund had offloaded 57 million shares of Coupang listed on the New York Stock Exchange for $29.685 apiece.

After the divestment, Vision Fund holds 568.2 million shares of the second-largest e-commerce player in South Korea, which made a spectacular debut in the US in March of this year. At the time, Son had expressed strong confidence about Coupang's business outlook, despite its accumulated losses and dismissed market speculation about its profit-taking from the stock.

The fund had held a 37% stake in Coupang after investing $1 billion in 2015 and an additional $2 billion in 2018.

Coupang, widely seen as the South Korean version of global e-commerce giant Amazon.com, has been under increased regulatory scrutiny after the devastating fire at one of its distribution centers in South Korea last June.

The antitrust Fair Trade Commission has been looking into Coupang as the e-commerce player faced allegations of manipulation of its search algorithms to give its private-brand products a better chance of appearing in search results.

The loss-making company’s strategy is also being put to the test as its stock is hovering below its initial public offering price of $35.

Write to Sang-yong Park and Dong-hui Park at yourpencil@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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