Weibo Seeks Valuation of Up to $3.9 Billion in U.S. Share Sale

Weibo Corp., China’s biggest microblogging outlet, is seeking as much as $380 million in an initial public offering, joining a slew of Chinese Internet companies looking to list newly issued shares in the U.S.

The company plans to offer 20 million shares for $17 to $19 apiece, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. At the top of the offering range the company would have a market value of about $3.9 billion, the filing shows. Weibo, based in Beijing, plans to use some of the proceeds from the offering to repay loans to parent Sina Corp.

In the first quarter, China-based companies announced more than $2.5 billion of U.S. IPOs, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Inc., the Chinese retailing website that just received an investment from Asia’s largest Internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd., has filed to raise $1.5 billion and Leju Holdings Ltd., an online real-estate company, said yesterday that it is seeking as much as $212 million in an IPO.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s biggest e-commerce company, agreed in April to buy an 18 percent stake in Weibo for $586 million, and plans to exercise an option to raise that stake to 30 percent, according to the filing. Alibaba is also preparing to go public in the U.S., the company has said.

Weibo’s proceeds from the IPO and Alibaba’s investment will be $377.2 million, according to the filing. Sina will have 80 percent of the voting power after the sale, while Alibaba will have 15 percent.

At $3.9 billion Weibo is asking for a value of about 21 times 2013 sales of $188.3 million. Revenue surged to that amount, from $65.9 million last year, the filing shows. Twitter Inc., the San Francisco-based microblogging service with more than 200 million users, has a market value of $24.5 billion, or about 30 times sales. Twitter has gained 66 percent since its November debut.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG are managing the offering. Weibo plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol WB.

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