By Fiona Lau and Julie Zhu
HONG KONG (Reuters/IFR) - Chinese online food delivery-to-ticketing services firm Meituan Dianping raised $4.2 billion in the world's biggest internet-focused IPO in four years as it priced the float near the top of an indicative range, people close to the deal said.
Meituan, backed by Chinese social media and gaming firm Tencent Holdings, sold about 480 million primary shares, or 8 percent of its enlarged share capital, at HK$69 ($8.79) each in the Hong Kong IPO, the sources said on Thursday.
That values the company at around $52.8 billion, taking into account shares to be issued under a pre-IPO employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), the people told Reuters.
The proceeds will help Meituan fortify itself against stiff competition from its main competitor, food-delivery platform Ele.me which is backed by China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding. Both parties, in a bruising battle for market share, are offering heavy discounts to attract new customers.
Beijing-based Meituan declined to comment on the pricing. The people declined to be identified as details of the pricing have not been published yet.
The company set a price range of HK$60 to HK$72 per share on Aug. 31. It could raise as much as $4.85 billion in total if a 15 percent "greenshoe", or over-allotment option, is fully exercised after the shares begin trading.
Founded in 2010 by Wang Xing, Meituan which has been likened to U.S. discounting platform Groupon Inc, completed in 2015 a $15 billion merger with its then main rival Dianping, akin to U.S. online review firm Yelp Inc.
The HK$69 IPO price represents a multiple of 27 times its 2020 profit forecast by its underwriting syndicate, according to sources.
Meituan plans to mainly use the proceeds raised from the IPO to upgrade its technology, develop new services and products, and pursue acquisitions or investments in assets complementary to its business, according to its prospectus.
It would also focus on cementing its presence at home, the world's second largest economy, instead of overseas expansion in the near future, chief executive Wang told a news conference in Hong Kong last week.
Meituan's shares will start trading on Sep. 20.
The company had lined up $1.5 billion from five cornerstone investors for the IPO.
Tencent committed $400 million; global asset manager Oppenheimer $500 million; UK-based hedge fund Lansdowne Partners $300 million; U.S. fund Darsana $200 million and state-backed China Structural Reform Fund $100 million.
Meituan's IPO is one of the biggest in a packed Hong Kong listing calendar for the coming months, including an expected float of at least $3 billion from bitcoin mining equipment maker Bitmain and an IPO worth up to $1 billion from Chinese movie ticketing platform Maoyan Weying.
Hong Kong has seen a pickup in interest for listings following a market rally early this year and after the exchange introduced new rules designed to attract tech companies by allowing dual-class share structures.
Meituan's float, the world's largest internet-focused IPO since Alibaba's $25 billion New York listing in 2014, is also Hong Kong's second multibillion-dollar tech float this year after Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp's IPO of $5.4 billion.
The deal comes at a time when Hong Kong's stock market has entered bear territory, with the benchmark Hang Seng index falling 20 percent from its January peak amid Sino-U.S. trade tensions, and several recent listings, such as Xiaomi's, have dropped below their IPO prices.
($1 = 7.8481 Hong Kong dollars)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)