Weibo IPO could value company at about $1.66 billion

Sat Apr 5, 2014 9:18am IST

A man holds an iPhone as he visits Sina's Weibo microblogging site in Shanghai May 29, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

A man holds an iPhone as he visits Sina's Weibo microblogging site in Shanghai May 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria/Files

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REUTERS - China's Weibo CorpIPO-WB.O said it expected its initial public offering of 20 million American Depository Shares to be priced at $17-$19 each, valuing the Twitter-like messaging service at about $1.66 billion.

The IPO is expected to raise about $380 million at the top end of the expected price range.

Weibo, owned by Sina Corp (SINA.O), is the latest Chinese internet giant to tap U.S. markets, following on the heels of search service Baidu and its own corporate parent.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd IPO-ALIB.N, which owns a stake in Weibo, is expected to raise about $15 billion in New York this year, in the biggest internet IPO since Facebook's (FB.O) debut in 2012.

Sina, which holds about 78 percent of Weibo, would see its stake drop to about 57 percent after the offering.

Weibo intends to list its common stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol "WB." (link.reuters.com/fyh38v)

The number of Chinese companies looking to list shares on the U.S. exchanges have risen steadily since last year despite simmering concerns among investors about Chinese accounting standards.

Weibo's advertising and marketing revenue rose almost three times to $148.42 million in 2013.

Total revenue rose to $188.3 million in 2013 from $65.9 million while net loss narrowed to $38.1 million from $102.5 million.

Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Credit Suisse are the lead underwriters for the offering.

(Reporting By Lehar Maan and Avik Das in Bangalore)

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