Thursday, July 29, 2021

business

Didi said to guide pricing U.S. IPO at top of range or above


Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. is telling investors it plans to price shares in its U.S. initial public offering at or above the top of a marketed range, according to people familiar with the matter.

Didi plans to sell 288 million American depositary shares. It had marketed the shares at $13 to $14 each.

Deliberations are not final and the price could change, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. A representative for Didi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The guidance shows investors are backing Didi despite Beijing's scrutiny of Chinese internet firms, which has stoked uncertainty ahead of its debut.

At $14 a share, the IPO would raise about $4 billion, making it the second largest U.S. IPO by a Chinese company on record, after Alibaba's $25 billion debut in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The price would give the company a market value of about $67 billion, based on the outstanding shares listed in the filing. That's well below the peak of a range that had stretched up to $100 billion as recently as a few months ago.

Even though it is set to rank among the year's biggest listings, the relatively modest showing by Uber Technologies Inc.'s peer and onetime rival reflects both investors' increasing caution over pricey growth stocks, and China's recent crackdown on its biggest tech players.

Didi's IPO comes in a year that's on track to set a record for first-time share sales, with almost $351 billion raised to date. More recently, creeping inflationary pressures have injected volatility into the IPO market.

The ride-hailing company is grappling with an antitrust probe into China's internet giants, a source of uncertainty for the firm and peers such as its major backer Tencent Holdings Ltd. Didi, which was among 34 technology firms ordered by regulators in April to correct excesses, warned in an earlier filing that it couldn't assure investors that government officials would be satisfied with its efforts or that it would escape penalties. In May, the antitrust watchdog ordered Didi and other leaders in on-demand transport to halt practices from arbitrary price hikes to unfair treatment of drivers.

After the coronavirus pandemic delivered an initial hit to its business last year, Didi rebounded quickly. In the first quarter, revenue more than doubled from the equivalent period a year earlier to reach $6.4 billion. The company also turned a profit for the three months, reporting net income of $837 million. It still posted a $1.6 billion loss last year on sales of $21.6 billion.

The company plans to use the IPO funds to invest in technology, grow its presence in some international markets and introduce new products, according to its U.S. filings. It's planning to make its debut in Western Europe this year, Bloomberg News reported in February, and has invested heavily in so-called community buying, one of the hottest e-commerce growth areas in China.

The offering is being led by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase. In all, Didi appointed 20 advisers to manage the IPO. Its ADSs, four of which represent an ordinary share, are slated to start trading on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DIDI.

Published : July 01, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Julia Fioretti, Vinicy Chan