Japanese Mercari Inc., the operator of flea market app Mercari, raised 130.5 billion yen ($1.2 billion U.S.) in its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
“The listing makes Mercari the most valuable firm on the Tokyo bourse’s Mothers market for startups, ahead of games and social network company Mixi Inc and robotics firm Cyberdyne Inc.,” the news agency said. “Shares rose as high as 6,000 yen in early afternoon trade, hitting their daily limit high and valuing the company at as much as $7.4 billion.”
The marketplace got a rave response from both local and foreign investors as it floated 43.5 million shares in the IPO. Investors in the U.S. and Europe bought around 24 million new and existing shares, according to Bloomberg.
The company incurred 3.4 billion yen ($39.9 million U.S.) in losses in the nine months to March as it increased spending on brand promotion, according to Reuters.
Media reports said Mercari would use the new funds to further expand worldwide, starting with Germany and France. Founded in 2013, the flea market app expanded beyond Japan to the U.S. in 2014 and Britain in 2017. The app has been downloaded more than 100 million times, including 60 million times in Japan.
The company is currently leading the online flea market in Japan. The consolidation of consumer-to-consumer marketplace apps Rakuma and Fril is likely to pose a challenge to Mercari as it fights to hold its number one spot. Recommerce app Cash.jp also vies for a significant share in the second-hand goods market.
Mercari has a rich portfolio of services including a marketplace for books, CDs and DVDs called Mercarikauru; a marketplace with a price appraisal feature, known as Mercarimaisonz; app-development subsidiary Souzoh.com; on-demand share cycle service Merchari; online payment-provider Merpay and a skill-sharing service Teacha.me.