Weibo files for R5.4bn US IPO

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Weibo1 Reuters The logo of Sina Corporation's microblog, Weibo, is seen on the screen of a smartphone in Beijing, China.

New York - Weibo, China’s biggest microblogging outlet, with 129 million monthly active users, filed to raise $500 million (R5.4 billion) in an initial public offering in the US, according to a regulatory filing yesterday.

The company didn’t specify the number or price of American depositary shares it will offer, using the figure as a placeholder to calculate registration fees.

Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are managing the offering.

The company plans to use some of the proceeds from the offering to repay loans to parent Sina, which has a 78 percent stake.

Sina Weibo, based in Beijing, joins a slew of Chinese Internet companies looking to list newly issued shares in the US, the Chinese retailing website that just received an investment from Asia’s largest Internet company Tencent, filed to raise $1.5 billion in the US, a Chinese e-commerce company that sells cosmetics, is also planning an IPO in the States, people familiar with the matter said last month.

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, agreed in April to buy an 18 percent stake in Sina Weibo for $586 million.

Alibaba is also preparing to go public in 2014, people familiar with the matter have said.

Sina Weibo is valued at $5.1 billion after posting its first profit, according to the midpoint of analyst estimates.

That makes it one-sixth the size of its US peer Twitter, which has a market value of $30 billion.

Shares of the San Francisco-based microblogging service with more than 200 million users have almost doubled since the company’s November debut. - Bloomberg News

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