Acorn seeks US$200m from Nasdaq share sale

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2006, 12:00am

Acorn International, the mainland's largest television home-shopping company, plans to file next month for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq that will raise as much as US$200 million, according to market sources.

Acorn sells about 60 brand name consumer products through commercials carried on mainland satellite television channels broadcast nationwide. Sales come mainly from home electronics, cosmetics, health and fitness and car products.

Acorn estimates the mainland's home shopping market will be a US$2 billion industry by 2008. The country has an estimated 700 million television viewers.

Hong Kong-based private equity firm SAIF Partners invested US$35 million in Acorn two years ago. SAIF, originally started by Japan's Softbank Corp and US-based Cisco, manages just over US$1 billion in Asia in two funds.

Japan's Oaklawn Marketing, which markets home and leisure products, was one of Acorn's founders in 1998.

Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are arranging the share sale.

Other mainland companies bound for the Nasdaq this year include Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics, the country's largest maker of blood pressure equipment, which plans to raise up to US$300 million.

MicroPort Medical, a cardiac and cranial stent maker, plans to raise US$120 million. Stents are devices placed in clogged or collapsed blood vessels to maintain circulation.

Online advertiser Allyes hopes to raise US$100 million

The 22 Chinese companies that have listed on the Nasdaq have raised an average US$95 million each and a total of US$2 billion, according to Bloomberg data.

Mainland technology and media companies tend to favour the Nasdaq over Hong Kong because of the higher valuations that are usually given there by tech-savvy investors who follow New York's smaller board.

The Nasdaq Composite Index is down 4 per cent this year.