Weibo makes debut on Nasdaq, lowers shares offer

Trading under the ticker WB, the Chinese microblogging service cuts its shares offer to 16.8 million at US$17 each, due to concerns over slowing user growth and slowing U.S. IPO market.

Weibo is now the first public-listed Chinese social media company, after making its debut on Nasdaq on Thursday but at a lower shares offering than originally planned. 

Operated by Sina, in which Alibaba also has a stake, the microblogging service priced its shares at US$17 each, falling on the bottom of its planned range of US$17 to US$19 in preparation for the Initial Public Offering (IPO), reported China Daily

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Beijing-based Weibo had initially targeted to sell 20 million Class-A American depositary shares, but slashed the number to 16.8 million due to concerns over slowing user growth and selloff in tech shares. As of March, Weibo has a monthly active user base of 144 million and more than 600 million registered users worldwide. 

Company CEO and Chairman of Sina's board Charles Chao said IPO prices were typically determined based on demand and supply in the stock market. "Because of the recent downturn of the IPO market in the U.S., we are happy that we can still set Weibo's IPO price at the bottom of our initial targeted range," Chao said during a local media briefing Thursday night. 

Trading under the ticker WB, the Chinese company will raise some US$328.44 million in capital from the IPO, which puts its value at around US$3.46 billion. 

It reported its first profit  of US$44.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 on revenue of US$197 million, up 42 percent from the year before, while advertising revenue increased 45 percent year-on-year to US$160.1 million.

In the first quarter of 2014, however, it recorded a net loss of US$47.4 million, which was more than double the US$19.2 million loss in the same quarter 2013, China Daily reported. Revenues for the quarter clocked at US$67.5 million, more than double year-on-year, but 5.5 percent below the previous quarter. Weibo said the lower revenue was due to seasonal effects of the Chinese Lunar New Year and that performance was in line with its expectations.

Alibaba, which is prepping its own U.S. IPO, last year purchased  19 percent stake in Weibo for US$586 million and is expected to exercise an option to raise that stake to 32 percent.

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