China’s Lashou Is Said to Plan U.S. IPO as It Seeks New Advisers
Lashou.com, a website that delivers daily deals in China, is planning an initial public offering in the U.S., three people familiar with the matter said.
The company is looking for advisers to replace Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which are also underwriting the IPO for rival Groupon Inc. (GRPN), said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Lashou has retained at least one new bank and is looking for more, one of the people said.
Lashou could become the first daily-deal startup to go public in the U.S. now that Groupon, the biggest online coupon company, postponed its planned $750 million IPO amid market swings. Beijing-based Lashou would also test U.S. investor appetite for coupon businesses in China, where many competitors have sprung up to serve the largest Internet population.
Chinese Internet companies Renren Inc. (RENN), a social network similar to Facebook Inc., and video site Tudou Holdings Ltd. have declined since their U.S. IPOs this year. Renren slumped 48.5 percent since its May debut through yesterday, while Tudou lost 20 percent since it went public in August. The timing of Lashou’s offering will vary based on stock-market volatility, the people said.
Lashou Chief Executive Officer Wu Bo declined to comment, as did Pen Pendleton, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley and Andrea Rachman, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs.
Groupon operates in China through Gaopeng.com, a joint venture backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma. While Groupon fired a large number of Gaopeng.com workers last month, the site is financially viable and still hiring, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month.
Lashou raised $110 million in April from investors including Beijing-based GSR Ventures in a funding round that valued the company at about $1.1 billion. In December 2010, it raised $50 million at a valuation of around $500 million.
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