Weibo, which means micro blog in Chinese, is a Chinese Twitter-like online networking tool. Hundreds of millions of netizens across China use Weibo as a platform to exchange information and voice opinions on social issues in a nation under strict news censorship. Sina Weibo is currently the largest social networking website in China with 368 million registered users as of June 2012.
Weibo raises US$286m in IPO with low-end pricing
Weibo, the microblogging service owned by Sina and Alibaba, raised US$285.6 million in its initial public offering in the United States after pricing the shares at the low end of a marketed range, sources said.
Weibo sold 16.8 million American depositary shares for US$17 each, said the sources. The shares, which had been offered for US$17 to US$19 apiece, will be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
From the time Weibo first publicly filed for its listing on March 14, the Nasdaq 100 Index had dropped 3 per cent by Wednesday amid a slump in technology stocks. Weibo joins seven other Chinese internet companies seeking capital in the US, which have filed to raise a total of US$2.8 billion in New York this year, the most since the fourth quarter of 2007.
"Investors have a lot of concerns about Weibo, especially now that it is facing a competitive landscape," said You Na, a senior research analyst at ICBC International Research. "The market is also in a relatively weak state."
The tally of US offerings by Chinese companies this year does not include Alibaba, which is preparing to go public and which analysts estimate could be the biggest listing in the US in at least two years. The share sales from China-based Tarena International and iKang Healthcare this year have dropped below their offering prices.
Leju Holdings, a Chinese operator of real estate websites, raised US$100 million on the New York Stock Exchange selling shares at the low end of a marketed range, sources said. It sold 10 million American depositary shares at US$10 each, they said.
Alibaba agreed a year ago to buy a 19 per cent stake in Weibo for US$586 million and planned to exercise an option to raise that stake to 32 per cent, a filing said. Weibo plans to use about US$250 million of the proceeds from the share offer to repay loans owed to Sina.
Weibo operates a Twitter-like service that derived 79 per cent of its US$188.3 million in revenue from advertising and marketing last year, the filing showed. That amounted to about US$1.46 in sales for each of its 129.1 million active monthly users. Weibo has posted losses for the past three years.
Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse managed the offering.