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Vietnamese Tech Start-Up VNG Files for US IPO, Pioneering NY Listing

Vietnamese internet start-up VNG Ltd has initiated the process for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States, marking a significant milestone as the first Vietnamese technology company to pursue a listing in New York. This move contributes to the evolving landscape of companies eyeing listings as global equity markets show signs of gradual revival.

Vietnamese Tech Start-Up VNG Files for US IPO, Pioneering NY Listing

In its IPO, VNG intends to offer nearly 22 million shares, with a proposed price range to be determined in a subsequent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. VNG underlined in its filing on Wednesday that the company's founders, Le Hong Minh and Vuong Quang Khai, will retain control. Furthermore, VNG will retain a 49 percent stake in VNG Corp, its Vietnamese operating subsidiary.

Originally known as Vinagame, VNG Corp commenced its journey in 2004 as a game publisher. Over time, it expanded its operations to develop and publish both original and localized versions of international games. The company has since diversified its portfolio to encompass an array of services spanning music sharing, video streaming, messaging, a news portal, and mobile payments. VNG has contemplated a US IPO since at least 2017.

Zalo, VNG's messaging app, has achieved significant traction, surpassing Meta Platform Inc's Facebook Messenger as Vietnam's most widely used chat platform since 2020. The app boasts an impressive user base of 75 million monthly active users.

Reflecting on their journey, VNG's founders conveyed their perspective in a letter to investors included within the prospectus. "We were born after the war, in a nation that had found peace and unity, but was still struggling with underdevelopment and isolation," they stated. The advent of the internet in Vietnam during the mid-1990s catalyzed the company's path to growth and global expansion.

VNG Ltd's IPO aspiration comes in the wake of Vietnamese electric-vehicle manufacturer Vinfast Auto Ltd's recent US market debut. Vinfast completed a merger with the blank-check firm Black Spade Acquisition Co, resulting in a valuation of $23 billion.

VNG's potential IPO would inject further energy into an IPO market that has experienced intermittent warming. Arm Holdings Ltd., a chip designer largely owned by SoftBank Group Corp., is gearing up for a September IPO, which could become this year's most significant offering. Other prominent entities, including Instacart Inc., Klaviyo, and Birkenstock, are also reportedly preparing to enter the IPO fray.

VNG's strategic vision centers on gaming as a key driver for global expansion. The company is also seeking to diversify revenue streams through artificial intelligence and cloud computing products. Minh, VNG's CEO, highlighted the pivotal role of gaming in the company's growth strategy, with VNG Games operating multiple studios across international locations.

The IPO process is being orchestrated by prominent financial institutions including Citigroup Inc, Morgan Stanley, UBS Group AG, and Bank of America Corp. VNG is planning for its shares to be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol VNG.



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