Stanley Printmiller (L) and Bill Ackman
South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang, which had risen sharply on its Wall Street debut, received early support from some high-profile investors: Stanley Druckermiller and Bill Ackman.
Coupang, dubbed the Amazon of South Korea, nearly doubled its IPO price of $ 35 per share shortly after it went public on Thursday lunchtime on the New York Stock Exchange.
The stock later reduced those gains, but still rose roughly 50% at a market value of $ 90 billion.
Druckmiller, the billionaire CEO of the Duquesne Family Office, was a longtime pre-IPO investor in the Seoul-based company, Drucker’s advisor Kevin Warsh told CNBC’s Becky Quick. Warsh, a former Federal Reserve governor, joined Coupang’s board of directors in 2019. Warsh owns a total of 280,662 Coupang shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ackman, the billionaire who runs Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund, personally invested in Coupang, a source close to the situation, CNBC said. It is unclear when this investment was made. However, Ackman is mentioned as an investor in a 2014 Reuters report.
Coupang raised $ 4.6 billion in its initial public offering, the largest ever in the United States this year. The company sold 130 million shares on Wednesday night at $ 35 each, above its target range of $ 32-34.
The company was founded in 2010 by Bom Kim who continues to serve as CEO. Other investors are Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group.
“When we talk about Coupang for what it is, it’s Amazon, but it’s Amazon with a UPS attached, with DoorDash, with Instacart, with a little dash of Netflix, and it’s all extremely integrated into this technology platform of customer focus “said Lydia Jett, investment partner at SoftBank Vision Fund and member of Coupang’s board of directors since 2018.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund owns roughly a third of Coupang after investing billions of dollars in the company. In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Alley, Jett said it didn’t take long to realize that Kim is a world-class founder who deserves support.
“When I met Bom and spent three days with him in Seoul, I was overwhelmed by his company’s customer understanding and focus, the innovation that was taking place,” said Jett. “I knew that this company was doing something radically different from its competition and that customers were responding,” she added. “You can see that in the company’s numbers.”
Coupang’s total sales in 2020 were $ 12 billion, up nearly 91% year over year. In 2020, the company posted an operating loss of $ 527.7 million – an 18% decrease from 2019 and a decrease of nearly 50% from 2018.
The company was ranked # 2 on the CNBC Disruptor 50 list last year.