China's Meituan Dianping sets HK IPO valuation at up to $55 billion: sources

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (Reuters/IFR) - China’s Meituan Dianping, an online food delivery-to-ticketing services platform, has set an indicative price range of HK$60 to HK$72 ($7.64-$9.17) per share for its initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, valuing itself at up to $55 billion, four people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Visitors look at a Meituan Autonomous Delivery (MAD) vehicle of Chinese food delivery platform Meituan-Dianping, at the first Smart China Expo in Chongqing, China August 23, 2018. Picture taken August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Meituan, already one of China’s most valuable internet firms, could raise as much as $4 billion before the exercise of a “greenshoe” or over-allotment option, whereby additional shares are sold depending on demand.

The company is discussing a valuation of $46 billion to $55 billion and is planning to secure a total of $1.5 billion from five cornerstone investors, including its main backer gaming and social media company Tencent Holdings Ltd, and global asset manager OppenheimerFunds, the people said.

Oppenheimer will commit $500 million and Tencent $400 million, they said.

Other cornerstone investors include UK-based hedge fund Lansdowne Partners ($300 million), U.S. hedge fund Darsana Master Fund LP ($200 million) and Chinese state-owned conglomerate China Chengtong Holdings Group ($100 million).

Tencent declined to comment. The other cornerstone investors did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Calls to Darsana went unanswered.

Meituan declined to comment when reached by Reuters.

The Beijing-based firm filed plans for the city’s second multibillion-dollar tech float this year after smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp’s blockbuster IPO of $5.4 billion after the full exercise of the greenshoe option.

It plans to use the process to upgrade its technology, develop new services and products and pursue acquisitions among other things, according to its IPO filing.

Meituan is also - after Xiaomi - the latest company with a dual-class share structure to file for a Hong Kong listing, under the city’s new rules designed to attract tech companies.

However, in late July Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), the operator of Hong Kong exchange, said it would delay changes that would allow companies to hold shares with more voting rights, as more time was needed for investors to become accustomed to recent rule changes.

Meituan was valued at around $30 billion in a fundraising round late last year.

Xiaomi started trading in July after a closely watched but disappointing initial public offering that valued it at almost half the $100 billion that industry analysts had initially estimated.

Meituan has been likened to U.S. discounting platform Groupon Inc.

Founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Wang Xing, it completed a $15 billion merger with Dianping in 2015, akin to U.S. online review firm Yelp Inc. It offers a broad range of services including movie ticketing, food delivery, hotel and travel booking as well as ride-hailing.

Competitors include food-delivery platform, backed by e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and leading ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley are sponsors of Meituan’s IPO. China Renaissance is the financial adviser.

($1 = 7.8487 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Julie Zhu in SINGAPORE, and FIONA LAU of IFR in HONG KONG; Writing by Anshuman Daga and Kane Wu; Editing by Susan Fenton, Adrian Croft and Kim Coghill