Vietnam's online gaming firm VNG eyes IPO in US

By Reuters, VnExpress   May 30, 2017 | 02:53 pm GMT+7
Vietnam's online gaming firm VNG eyes IPO in US
Men use computers at an internet cafe in Bim Son town, outside Hanoi. Vietnam has a large population of internet users and gamers. Photo by Reuters

It is now in a race with budget carrier VietJet to become the first Vietnamese company to list abroad.

Vietnamese online gaming and messaging firm VNG Corp said Tuesday that it has signed a preliminary agreement with U.S. bourse operator Nasdaq Inc to explore an initial public offering, a move that could make it the first Southeast Asian firm to be listed overseas.

The agreement, which could see Nasdaq help VNG prepare for the listing, was signed on the sidelines of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's visit to the U.S., Reuters reported Tuesday.

Founded in 2004, VNG provides online games, music streaming and messaging applications. Its statement did not disclose details about the IPO plans.

The company was not immediately available for comment.

In his Tuesday meeting with Robert H. McCooey Jr, vice president of Nasdaq, PM Phuc hailed the agreement between Nasdag and VNG. According to a government report, he said that Vietnam’s government always encourages the cooperation between local firms and U.S. partners.

In a report on Sunday, Bloomberg said VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co., which controls almost half of Vietnam’s domestic airline market, is in talks to become the first company in the Southeast Asian nation to list its shares in an overseas stock exchange.

"We’ve been approached by some foreign stock exchanges including London, Hong Kong and Singapore, which expressed their interest in our stock," Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, VietJet’s founder and chief executive officer, was quoted as saying. She added that she will meet exchange officials in New York later this week.

According to Bloomberg, VietJet reportedly received shareholder approval in April to boost its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 30 percent.

The increase will need to be approved by the government because foreign ownership in the industry is currently capped at 30 percent.

"We don’t want to hide our hope to become the first Vietnamese company to list shares overseas," Thao reportedly said.

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