China’s Didi reveals US IPO filing, sets stage for blockbuster float

Didi V2X

Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest ride-hailing firm, has made public its filing for a US stock market listing, setting the stage for what is expected to be the world’s biggest initial public offering this year.

The company – which is backed by some of Asia’s largest tech investment firms, SoftBank, Alibaba and Tencent Holdings, did not reveal the size of the offering, but sources familiar with the matter had previously told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters that the ride-hailing giant could raise around $10 billion and seek a valuation of close to $100 billion.

At that valuation, Didi’s stock market flotation would be the biggest Chinese share offering in the US, since Alibaba raised $25 billion in its blockbuster IPO in 2014.

In its filing on Thursday, Didi revealed slower revenue growth in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which grounded the global ride-hailing industry to a halt as lockdowns were enforced all over the globe.

For 2020, Didi reported revenue of 141.7 billion yuan (approximately $22.17 billion), down from 154.8 billion yuan a year earlier. Net loss stood at 10.6 billion yuan in 2020, compared with 9.7 billion yuan a year earlier.

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However, Didi started 2021 strongly, as businesses reopened in China. Revenue more than doubled to 42.2 billion yuan (approximately US$6.4 billion) for the three months ended March 31 from 20.5 billion yuan a year earlier.

CHINESE IPO GOLD RUSH

Didi confidentially filed for its IPO in April. A source familiar with the matter said Didi was aiming to go public in July.

The mega IPO highlights the lucrative business opportunity presented by Asian tech giants for Wall Street’s big investment banks.

Earlier this year, Singapore’s biggest ride-hailing firm, Grab, struck a $40 billion deal with a special purpose acquisition company, backed by investment firm Altimeter, to go public in the United States.

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Last year, Chinese companies raised $12 billion from US listings, more than triple the fundraising amount in 2019, according to Refinitiv data. This year, the raise from Chinese floats on US exchanges is expected to comfortably surpass last year’s tally.

Didi, which merged with then main rival Kuaidi in 2015 to create a smartphone-based transport services giant, counts as its core business a mobile app, where users can hail taxis, privately owned cars, car-pool options and even buses in some cities.

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Didi plans to list American Depositary Shares (ADSs) on either Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “DIDI”, the company said.

Didi Chief Executive Cheng Wei said last year the firm aims to have 800 million monthly active users globally and complete 100 million orders a day by 2022, including ride-sharing, bike and food delivery orders.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are the lead underwriters for the offering.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Ankit Ajmera and Anirban Sen in Bengaluru and Echo Wang in New York. Editing by Anil D’Silva.

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