Chinese Uber Didi targeting $60B valuation in US IPO amid antitrust concerns

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The largest ride-hailing company in China plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange at a valuation of more than $60 billion — even as Chinese regulators reportedly probe the company for antitrust violations. 

Didi — which offers rides to more than 550 million users in Asia, Latin America and Russia — plans to raise about $4 billion by offering 288 million shares at $13 to $14 each under the ticker “DIDI,” the company said in a Thursday Securities and Exchange Commission filing. 

That would make Didi, which counts SoftBank and Tencent among its major investors, the largest international firm to go public in the US since Jack Ma’s Alibaba raised more than $25 billion through a monster IPO in 2014.

But the new details on Didi’s planned IPO come amid regulatory concerns at home that have spooked some investors.

Last week, Reuters reported that Chinese authorities are investigating whether the company used anti-competitive practices to squeeze out smaller rivals. 

In Thursday’s SEC filing, Didi acknowledged having met with Chinese competition regulators this year. The company also told investors that “we cannot assure you that the regulatory authorities will be satisfied” with its practices and said it could theoretically be penalized for violations of anti-monopoly laws and other rules.

The company lowered its valuation goal from an expected range of $80 billion to $100 billion due in part to investor concerns about a government crackdown, Reuters reported based on interviews with investors.

Didi — formerly known as Didi Chuxing — was founded in 2012 and won its position at the top of the Chinese ride-share market not just by fighting off smaller local competitors, but also defeating Uber. 

The American ride-share giant spent more than $2 billion in a brutal competition to dominate the Chinese market before eventually giving up and selling its China operation to Didi in 2016 in exchange for a 20 percent stake of the combined company. 

Based on Didi’s targeted IPO valuation, Uber’s stake is now worth about $13 billion. 

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