Chinese firm Didi's $4 billion IPO books covered on first day of bookbuild -sources

·3 min read
FILE PHOTO: Didi headquarters in Beijing

By Scott Murdoch, Julie Zhu and Yilei Sun

(Reuters) -Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Global Inc's $4 billion initial public offering (IPO) received enough investor demand to clinch its targeted price range on Friday, vindicating a lowering of valuation expectations, people familiar with the matter said.

The listing in New York, which will be the biggest U.S. share sale by a Chinese company since Alibaba raised $25 billion in 2014, is expected to price on Tuesday, and the shares to start trading on Wednesday.

Didi's indicated price range would give it a valuation of $62.4 billion to $67.2 billion. Didi was hoping it could command a valuation of as much as $100 billion, Reuters reported in March.

At the new valuation, Didi would be valued more like its U.S. peer Uber Technologies Inc, rather than Grab, Southeast Asia's biggest ride-hailing and food delivery firm.

Didi not respond to a request for comment on its bookbuilding exercise.

"Many investors still doubt if Didi can maintain a high growth rate for its core ride-hailing business in China," said a prospective investor at one Hong Kong-based hedge fund who asked not to be identified as he was not allowed to speak to media.

"Its market share is already very high in big cities, which means there is limited room for its future growth," the source added.

"It's also challenging for the company to expand in lower-tier cities due to increasing competition from rivals, not to mention the potential impact of a regulatory crackdown."

Didi set a price range of between $13 and $14 per American Depositary Share (ADS), a regulatory filing showed on Thursday, and said it would offer 288 million such shares in the IPO. At the top of the range, the deal will raise $4.03 billion.

An overallotment option could see the company sell an extra 43.2 million shares to raise up to an extra $605 million.

Investor presentations, led by Didi's vice president and head of capital markets, David Xu, will run until Tuesday. The roadshow for a U.S. listing of this size is shorter than the usual 10 days of most.

Morgan Stanley Investment Management has indicated interest in subscribing for up to $750 million worth of stock in the IPO and Singapore's Temasek for $500 million, Didi's updated prospectus shows.

Last week, Reuters reported that China's market regulator had begun an antitrust investigation of Didi, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) is investigating whether Didi used competitive practices that unfairly squeezed out smaller rivals.

It is also examining whether the pricing mechanism used by Didi's core ride-hailing business is sufficiently transparent.

At the time, Didi said it would not comment on unsubstantiated speculation from unnamed sources.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch and Julie Zhu in Hong Kong, Anirban Sen and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru, and Yilei Sun in Beijing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and David Evans)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting