Sina Weibo Debuts in New York’s Nasdaq on April 17, IPO Aims to Raise $340 Million

By @ibtimesau on

Beijing-based Sina Weibo is due to debut this week in New York through an initial public offering (IPO) that seeks to raise at least $340 million.

The Chinese version of Twitter is scheduled to be sold through the Nasdaq exchange beginning Thursday, April 17, using the symbol WB. The microblogging site started in August 2009 to provide Chinese Internet users an alternative to Twitter which is banned in the country.

The IPO would offer 20 million American depositary shares for $17 to $19 per share, reported Bloomberg, citing Sina Corp's regulatory filing on April 4.

Bloomberg noted that its valuation is 18 times lower than its 2013 sales, while its stock price is equal to 39 times of Twitter's. Weibo had a revenue per monthly active user at the end of 2013 at $1.46, while Twitter had $2.76.

Explaining the valuation gap between the two microblogging sites, CRT Capital Group analyst Neil Doshi wrote, quoted by Bloomberg, "The Twitter platform lends itself well to brand advertising, which is why the monetization of Twitter is stronger than Weibo's."

Weibo's coming out party in the international bourse comes at a time after the Nasdaq index was down for more than three weeks, reflecting the gloomy market outlook.

Meeschaert Financial Services trader Gregon Volokhine told AFP that Weibo's debut this week is riskier compared to three weeks ago. There is also a question of the size of Weibo's user  base and competition from Chinese rivals such as WeChat.

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