Weibo shares surge on Chinese site’s first day of trading

Twitter-like service owned by Sina raises $285.6m with IPO, offering shares for $17-$19

People cheer as  Weibo begins trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol WB  in New York city yesterday. Photograph: Getty

People cheer as Weibo begins trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol WB in New York city yesterday. Photograph: Getty

 

Weibo, the Chinese microblogging service owned by Sina, surged in its first day of trading after pricing its initial public offering at the low end of the marketed range. Weibo, which also counts Alibaba Group among its backers, raised $285.6 million in the IPO, after offering the shares for $17 to $19 apiece.

Weibo’s IPO was set against the backdrop of tumbling stocks. Since the company publicly filed for the offering on March 14th, US peer Twitter dropped more than 14 per cent amid a broad decline in technology stocks, while Sina fell 18 per cent.

Weibo joins seven Chinese internet companies that have filed to raise a total of $2.8 billion in New York this year.

“Investors have a lot of concerns about Weibo, especially now that it is facing a competitive landscape,” said You Na, research analyst at ICBC International Research in Hong Kong. “The market is also in a relative weak state.”

The tally of US offerings by Chinese companies doesn’t include Alibaba, which is preparing to go public. Analysts estimate it could be the biggest IPO in the US in two years.

Weibo operates a Twitter-like service that derived 79 per cent of its $188.3 million in revenue from advertising and marketing last year. That amounted to about $1.46 in sales for each of its 129.1 million active monthly users.

Weibo has posted losses for the past three years, the filing shows.

– (Bloomberg)