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Pinduoduo makes biggest group offer yet with IPO

By Tan Xinyu | | Updated: 2018-07-17 15:50
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The logo of e-commerce company Pinduoduo. [Photo/VCG]

Chinese online group discounter Pinduoduo proposed raising up to $1.87 billion in an updated prospectus through listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "PDD", with 85.6 million American depositary shares on offer at a price range between $16 and $19 per share.

The 3-year-old company's market value will be more than $24 billion if the offering price falls on the highest end of the indicative price spectrum, compared with $12.5 billion of value in its latest fundraising in March, news portal reported.

Pinduoduo's shareholders — Tencent Holdings Limited and Sequoia Capital — each planned to purchase up to $250 million of the ADSs representing Class A ordinary shares in the initial public offering according to its prospectus, which was uploaded to the website of the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

The prospectus said 40 percent of net proceeds from this offering will be used to enhance and expand business operations, another 40 percent will go to research and development and the rest will be for general corporate purposes and working capital, including potential strategic investments and acquisitions.

Like many technology companies such as Google and Facebook, Pinduoduo would have a weighted voting rights structure, or dual-class shares, which allows founders to keep outsized voting rights. After the offering, Huang Zheng, founder, chairman and CEO of Pinduoduo, will own a 46.8 percent stake with aggregate 89.8 percent voting power, while Tencent, Banyan Partners Funds and Sequoia Funds are to take up 17 percent, 9.3 percent and 6.8 percent respectively, data from the prospectus showed.

The updated version of the prospectus presented Pinduoduo Inc as the entity to issue shares instead of Walnut Street Group Holding Ltd, Pinduoduo's parent company, named in the initial prospectus released on June 29.

The latest prospectus also announced a panel of advisors in the management team, including former president of Goldman Sachs, John Thornton, chairman of Kerry Logistics Network George Yong-Boon Yeo and artificial intelligence expert and former COO of China's internet search giant Baidu Inc, Lu Qi.

The Shanghai-based startup aims to combine value-for-money and entertainment, and has accumulated 343.6 million active buyers in the 12-month period ending on June 30, with 262.1 billion yuan ($39.24 billion) in gross merchandise volume.

Second-quarter financial data released in the prospectus showed annual spending per active user has increased from 673.9 to 762.8 yuan, while monthly active users on average reached 195 million, up 17 percent from the first quarter.

Meanwhile, domestic e-commerce peers are pushing back. Alibaba, for instance, launched a new platform called Taobao Tejia, or Taobao Special Price Edition, and has introduced group shopping. Both let users make bulk purchases of cheap products in a similar way to Pinduoduo.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities Limited and China Renaissance Securities (Hong Kong) Limited are underwriters for the IPO, as the prospectus showed, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, as depositary, will register and deliver the ADSs.

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