Yoshikazu Tanaka, the country’s youngest billionaire, is considering an overseas listing of the Gree Inc. social-networking company he founded.
“Numerous Japanese companies have listed overseas after doing so on the Tokyo Stock Exchange,” the 34-year-old Tanaka, owner of the nation’s second-largest networking service, said in an interview in Tokyo on Monday. “We would like to consider such an option as well.”
Such a move would allow Gree to join LinkedIn Corp. and China’s Renren Inc. among companies capitalizing on the growing investor appetite for social-media stocks. The number of Internet-related filings for IPOs in the U.S. has climbed to its highest level in 11 years, including Zynga Inc. and Groupon Inc.
More than 50 Internet-related companies have filed for IPOs in the U.S. this year, the most since 164 companies in the industry announced plans for initial offerings in the U.S. during all of 2000, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
An overseas listing would help Gree raise its profile outside Japan and the social-networking site operator isn’t in need of funding, Tanaka said. The Tokyo-based company, which in April agreed to buy California-based OpenFeint Inc. for $104 million, may continue to pursue acquisitions as it seeks to expand beyond Japan, he said.
“If the Japanese markets shrink, we would need to be a global company or our business would shrink,” said Tanaka, whose wealth is estimated at $2.2 billion (¥177.69 billion), according to Forbes magazine’s latest list of billionaires.
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