Didi prices US IPO at top of range to raise $5.9 billion

The IPO shows investors are backing Didi despite Beijing's scrutiny of Chinese internet firms.
The IPO shows investors are backing Didi despite Beijing's scrutiny of Chinese internet firms.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global has raised about US$4.4 billion (S$5.9 billion) after pricing its US initial public offering at the top of a marketed range and selling more shares, according to people familiar with the matter.

Didi sold about 317 million American depositary shares in the offering, around 10 per cent more than originally planned, based on an updated filing on Tuesday (June 29). The company priced the shares at US$14 each after marketing them for US$13 to US$14, the people said, who asked not to be identified because the details weren’t public yet.

A representative for Didi declined to comment.

At US$4.4 billion, Didi would be the second largest US listing by a Chinese company on record, after Alibaba Group Holding’s US$25 billion debut in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The IPO shows investors are backing Didi despite Beijing’s scrutiny of Chinese internet firms, which has stoked uncertainty ahead of its debut.

The price, with the additional shares sold, would give Didi a market value of more than US$67 billion, based on the outstanding shares listed in its filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s well below the peak of a range that had stretched up to US$100 billion as recently as a few months ago.

Even though it is set to rank among the year’s biggest listings, the relatively modest showing by Uber Technologies’s peer and onetime rival reflects both investors’ increasing caution over pricey growth stocks, and China’s recent crackdown on its biggest tech players.

Didi’s IPO comes in a year that’s on track to set a record for first-time share sales, with almost US$351 billion raised to date. More recently, creeping inflationary pressures have injected volatility into the IPO market.

The ride-hailing company is grappling with an antitrust probe into China’s internet giants, a source of uncertainty for the firm and peers such as its major backer Tencent Holdings. Didi, which was among 34 technology firms ordered by regulators in April to correct excesses, warned in an earlier filing that it couldn’t assure investors that government officials would be satisfied with its efforts or that it would escape penalties. In May, the antitrust watchdog ordered Didi and other leaders in on-demand transport to halt practices from arbitrary price hikes to unfair treatment of drivers.

After the coronavirus pandemic delivered an initial hit to its business last year, Didi rebounded quickly. In the first quarter, revenue more than doubled from the equivalent period a year earlier to reach US$6.4 billion. The company also turned a profit for the three months, reporting net income of US$837 million. It still posted a US$1.6 billion loss last year on sales of US$21.6 billion.

The company plans to use the IPO funds to invest in technology, grow its presence in some international markets and introduce new products, according to its US filings. Didi is planning to make its debut in Western Europe this year, Bloomberg News reported in February, and has invested heavily in so-called community buying, one of the hottest e-commerce growth areas in China.

Its ADSs, four of which represent an ordinary share, are slated to start trading on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DIDI.