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Advertisements on the windows of a Lianjia branch, China's biggest real estate brokerage agency, in Shanghai on March 5, 2016. Photo: Lai Xinlin

Tencent-backed real estate platform Beike aims to raise US$2 billion in New York IPO even as US tightens noose around WeChat

  • Tencent-backed KE Holdings is looking to raise US$2 billion in New York
  • The company plans to offer shares at US$17 to US$19 each
KE Holdings, a Chinese online property platform backed by Tencent Holdings and SoftBank Group, is looking to raise about US$2 billion in a US initial public offering (IPO).

Also known as Beike Zhaofang, the company is offering 106 million American depositary shares at US$17 to US$19 each, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. The company said the shares will represent three of its Class A ordinary shares.

At US$2.01 billion at the top of that range, Beike’s IPO would be the largest float by a Chinese company on US exchanges since iQIYI raised US$2.4 billion in March 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Despite worsening tensions between the world’s two largest economies and an accounting scandal at a high-profile US-listed Chinese start-up earlier this year, firms from the Asian nation have received a warm reception from US investors. The US is discussing whether to restrict Chinese firms’ access to American capital markets while the Senate passed a bill that could lead to them being delisted from US exchanges.
Zuo Hui, president of Beijing Homelink Real Estate Brokerage, during a session at the China Green Companies Summit in Zhengzhou, China, on Sunday, April 23, 2017. Photo: Bloomberg
Beijing Homelink Real Estate Brokerage, also known as Lianjia, is one of China’s biggest real estate firms. It launched Beike, which means shells in Chinese, in 2018 as its online platform for property brokerage.

Beike raised about US$800 million from Tencent in a funding round last year while SoftBank invested US$1.3 billion at a US$10 billion valuation, a person familiar with the matter said earlier.

The deal will be closely watched by investors to see if SoftBank is managing to recover from a string of IPO failures last year. The offering is expected to price on August 12, according to Beike.

Based on the outstanding Class A and Class B shares listed in its filing, Beike would be valued at the top of its IPO range at about US$21 billion, well above the US$14 billion it was last worth.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, China Renaissance Holdings and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are leading the offering. Beike plans for the shares to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BEKE.