China's Luckin Coffee raises $150 mln from BlackRock, others

BEIJING, April 18 (Reuters) - China’s Luckin Coffee, a self-declared challenger to Starbucks Corp, has raised $150 million in its latest round of funding from investors including BlackRock Inc, which values the company at $2.9 billion.

The investment, $125 million of which came from a private equity fund managed by BlackRock, follows a $200 million funding round in November that had increased the company’s valuation to $2.2 billion, Luckin said in a statement on Thursday.

The up-and-coming coffee chain with ambitions to challenge Starbucks in China is backed by investors including Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and China International Capital Corp Ltd.

Reuters reported in February that Luckin had tapped three banks including Credit Suisse to work on a U.S. IPO in 2019. The company’s chairman also sought a loan of at least $200 million from banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, sources told Reuters last month.

The loss-making firm’s super-charged growth plan has been built on cheap delivery, online ordering and big discounts. It has said it wants to open 2,500 cafes this year to displace Starbucks as China’s largest coffee chain.

Reporting by Pei Li and Josh Horwitz; Editing by Shreejay Sinha