SoftBank’s Yanolja plans $400 million IPO as early as July

(Bloomberg) — SoftBank Group Corp.-backed South Korean travel app Yanolja Co. is targeting $400 million in a U.S. IPO, people familiar with the matter said.

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The Seoul-based startup’s offering, which could launch as soon as July, could value the company between $7 billion and $9 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are expected to lead the IPO, the sources said.

The company has not made a final decision and details of the offer could still change, the sources said. Some features of Yanolja’s listing plans were reported earlier by the Korea Times and Invest Chosun.

Representatives for SoftBank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Yanolja declined to comment.

Yanolja is the latest portfolio company SoftBank is looking to take to the public market, as founder Masayoshi Son moves toward artificial intelligence and related hardware. It took Arm Holdings Plc public in the United States in a roughly $5 billion listing in September, but still controls a majority of the chip designer.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund II has invested approximately $1.7 billion in Yanolja in 2021. Founded in 2005, Yanolja acquired Israeli technology provider Go Global Travel Ltd last year. to become one of the largest travel platforms in the world.

Yanolja has expanded its cloud arm serving the hospitality and leisure sectors to expand beyond consumer travel bookings, competing with rivals such as Airbnb Inc. and Expedia Group Inc.

Last year, Yanolja hired Alexandre Ibrahim, a former New York Stock Exchange executive, as the company’s chief financial officer. The group also opened its American office in Manhattan in March, a strategic hub for its expansion in North America. The New York office is its 50th overseas.

–With help from Yoolim Lee.

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