Chinese search engine company Baidu Inc is looking to raise at least $3.03bn by selling 95 million shares as books opened on Thursday for its Hong Kong listing, according to a term sheet from the deal’s launch seen by Reuters.
Baidu’s New York-listed shares were trading nearly 4 percent higher on the back of the deal being launched on Thursday. In Hong Kong, the shares will be priced at no more than 295 Hong Kong dollars ($38.02) per share for retail shareholders and represent 3.4 percent of the company’s total shares, it said in documents sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Institutional investors could pay more for the shares, a term sheet seen by the Reuters news agency showed, without specifying a range. One Baidu ADR is equivalent to eight of its Hong Kong shares, the filings indicated. The $3.03bn target is based on Baidu’s closing price of $255.14 in New York on Wednesday, according to the term sheet. A further 14.25 million shares can be sold as part of a so-called “greenshoe” option that would take the size of the issue to $3.48bn, it said. The final price for Baidu’s shares will be set on March 17 and trading will begin on the Hong Kong market on March 23.
A maximum price of 295 Hong Kong dollars a share represented a 15.2 percent premium to the closing price of Baidu’s US-listed stock on Tuesday. Baidu intends to use about half of the proceeds raised from the Hong Kong deal to invest in technology and enhance its artificial intelligence offers, according to the term sheet. A further 40 percent of the funds raised will be spent on growing Baidu Mobile and the rest on general corporate purposes, it said.
Baidu added it expected its ADRs to continue to be listed on the Nasdaq. Reuters reported last year that the company had considered leaving the US exchange to boost its valuation. Baidu’s shares recently rose as much as more than 100 percent since Reuters first reported the company’s electric vehicle-making plan in December.