Japan

Skadden, STB lead on $1.2 bln IPO of first-ever Japanese unicorn

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Nishimura & Asahi have advised Japanese flea market app operator Mercari on its $1.2 billion IPO, the nation’s biggest such share sale so far this year.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto advised the lead managers as international and Japanese law counsel, respectively. Mercari, which offers a popular smartphone app that allows people to trade used items online, is the country’s third-largest tech listing in the past five years – behind the $3.2 billion raised by Japan Display in 2014 and the $1.3 billion by Line Corp in 2016 – according to Thomson Reuters data. Founded in 2013, Mercari was Japan’s first unicorn – a startup with a valuation above $1 billion – in a country that boasts numerous successful giant corporations but lacks a vibrant startup culture, said Reuters. It added that according to data provider CB Insights, Mercari and information technology startup Preferred Networks are the only two unicorns in Japan.

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