Sina Targets US IPO For Weibo, So-Called “Chinese Twitter”

Sina Targets US IPO For Weibo, So-Called “Chinese Twitter”

SINA Corp (NASDAQ:SINA) is preparing for the initial public offering (IPO) of its microblogging platform in the United States. Weibo’s IPO is valued at around $7 billion to $8 billion, according to a report from the Financial Times.

The Chinese company engaged the services of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and  Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) to spin-off Weibo through a public offering, according to the report based on information from unnamed sources.

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SINA Corp (NASDAQ:SINA) owns 71% of Weibo, and it aims to raise as much as $500 million from the offering. Alibaba Group acquired an 18% stake in Weibo for $586 million last year. The transaction gave Weibo a valuation of $3.3 billion. Sina aims to complete the U.S. IPO of its microblogging site in the second quarter of this year.

One of the biggest IPOs from China

Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) estimated that Weibo’s valuation is around $5 billion while analysts at Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) valued the microblogging site at approximately $5.8 billion.

According to the people familiar with plan of SINA Corp (NASDAQ:SINA), the Chinese company is still aiming for a valuation higher than the estimates of Wall Street analysts. According to them, “This is going to be one of the biggest deals from China this year.”

When asked about the potential IPO of Weibo, the company said its does not comment on market rumors. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) also refused to comment on the issue.

Weibo still popular in China

Weibo remained popular in China with 60 million daily active users despite the presence of competitors such of WeChat instant messaging app, which is becoming a threat to the company. SINA Corp (NASDAQ:SINA) previously acknowledged the fact that many people are using WeChat instead of Weibo. Over the past 12 months, the market share of WeChat doubled.

On the other hand, the market share of Weibo declined 10% from 2012 to 2013, according to latest report of a research group affiliated to the Chinese government. Many Chinese activists and celebrities use the microblogging platform to criticize the government. Its market share declined due to the increase censorship of the government against activist bloggers and users using the site.

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