x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

China’s microblogging site Weibo seeks $380m IPO in the US

The microblogging site plans to offer 20 million shares for US$17 to $19 apiece, according to a regulatory filing.

Weibo, China’s biggest microblogging outlet, is seeking as much as US$380 million in an initial public offering, joining a slew of Chinese Internet companies looking to list newly issued shares in the US.

The company plans to offer 20 million shares for $17 to $19 apiece, according to a regulatory filing Saturday. At the top of the offering range the company would have a market value of over $3.4 billion, excluding the underwriters option to buy more shares, the filing shows. Weibo, based in Beijing, plans to use some of the proceeds from the offering to repay loans to parent Sina, which currently has a 78 per cent stake.

In the first quarter, China-based companies announced more than $2.5bn of U. IPOs, data compiled by Bloomberg show. JD.com, the Chinese retailing website that just received an investment from Asia’s largest Internet company Tencent Holdings has filed to raise $1.5bn and Leju Holdings, an online real-estate company, said Saturday that it is seeking as much as $212m in an IPO.

Alibaba Group Holding, China’s biggest e-commerce company, agreed in April to buy an 18 per cent stake in Weibo for $586m, and plans to exercise an option to raise that stake to 30 per cent, according to the filing. Alibaba is also preparing to go public in the US, the company has said.

Weibo’s proceeds from the IPO and Alibaba’s investment will be $377.2m, according to the filing. Sina will have 80 per cent of the voting power after the sale, while Alibaba will have 15 per cent.

At $3.4bn Weibo is asking for a value of about 18 times 2013 sales of $188m. Revenue surged to that amount, from $65.9m last year, the filing shows. Twitter, the San Francisco-based microblogging service with more than 200 million users, has a market value of $24.5bn, or about 30 times sales. Twitter has gained 66 per cent since its November debut.

Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are managing the offering. Weibo plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol WB.