Tag Archives: Billion

SoftBank's Vision Fund in talks to invest $1.5 billion in Chinese used car platform: sources
February 2, 2019 6:01 am|Comments (0)

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – The SoftBank-led Vision Fund is in talks to invest up to $ 1.5 billion in Chinese used car trading platform Guazi.com, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

That would mark the latest Chinese deal by the mammoth $ 100 billion investment fund as it looks to expand in the world’s No.2 economy, and would come after it invested 460 million euros in German used car dealing platform Auto1.

The fund is likely to invest up to $ 1.5 billion in Guazi in a deal that would value the firm at $ 8.5 billion before the investment, according to one of the sources, who had direct knowledge of the situation.

The two sources, who were not authorized to speak to media, also said the Vision Fund had in the past few months held talks with Guazi’s direct rival, Renrenche, which is backed by Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing.

Guazi, a consumer-to-consumer used car trading platform founded in 2014, is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent and Sequoia Capital China. Its talks with Softbank were first reported by the Financial Times late on Friday.

The Vision Fund and Renrenche declined to comment. Guazi did not respond to a request for comment. Japan’s Softbank was not immediately available for comment.

The Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund after raising more than $ 93 billion in 2017, has previously made investments in firms such as ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc and shared-office space firm WeWork.

China’s used car market has continued to grow even as overall auto sales declined last year for the first time since the 1990s.

Used sales rose 11.5 percent in 2018 from the year before to 13.82 million vehicles. The total value of these transactions was 860.4 billion yuan ($ 127.61 billion), according to the China Automobile Dealers Association.

China’s state planner has said the country would aim to loosen restrictions on the second-hand auto market, with “appropriate” subsidies provided to boost rural sales of some vehicles.

Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Yilei Sun in Beijing, additional reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo; Editing by Joseph Radford

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Facebook to buy back additional $9 billion of shares
December 8, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

A picture illustration shows a Facebook logo reflected in a person’s eye, in Zenica, March 13, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) will buy back an additional $ 9 billion of its shares, as it looks to pacify investors following a slump in its stock.

The social media giant’s shares, which have tumbled more than 22 percent this year, rose nearly 1 percent in extended trading.

The new program is in addition to a share buyback plan of up to $ 15 billion announced by the company last year.

Facebook is being investigated by lawmakers in Britain after consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential campaign, obtained personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher.

Concerns over the social media giant’s practices, the role of political adverts and possible foreign interference in the 2016 Brexit vote and U.S. elections are among the topics being investigated by British and European regulators.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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CityFibre to invest 2.5 billion pounds in full-fiber for UK homes
October 24, 2018 12:01 am|Comments (0)

LONDON (Reuters) – CityFibre, a British broadband operator backed by Goldman Sachs, said it would spend 2.5 billion pounds ($ 3.25 billion) on rolling out fiber networks in 37 towns and cities, offering ultra-fast connections to as many as 5 million homes.

The company, which was bought by Goldman Sachs West Street Infrastructure Partners and private equity firm Antin for $ 750 million earlier this year, is taking on national provider BT, which has faced criticism for the extent of its own full-fiber ambitions.

CityFibre said its networks, which offer gigabit speeds, would help deliver one third of the government’s 2025 target of 15 million homes.

“Our roll out will soon bring to scale an innovative wholesale network, providing internet service providers and mobile network operators with greater choice and unrivalled technical capabilities, benefiting all sectors of the market,” Chief Executive Greg Mesch said on Wednesday.

The company signed a partnership deal last year with Vodafone to market its networks in 10 cities, including Edinburgh, Coventry and Leeds.

It said on Wednesday it had identified another 27 towns and cities, including Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester, where it would roll out full-fiber connectivity.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by David Evans

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China's ZTE posts 1.1 billion first-half loss on impact from U.S. supplier ban
August 30, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) (0763.HK) reported a first-half net loss of 7.8 billion yuan ($ 1.1 billion) on Thursday, weighed down by a ban on U.S. firms selling parts to the Chinese telecom equipment maker that forced it to cease operations for three months.

FILE PHOTO: The company name of ZTE is seen outside the ZTE R&D building in Shenzhen, China April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

The result compared with the 7 billion to 9 billion yuan net loss estimate disclosed last month, and the 2.3 billion yuan profit booked in the same period a year earlier.

Operating revenue in the first half fell 27.0 percent to 39.4 billion yuan.

In June, the network equipment and smartphone maker paid the United States $ 1.4 billion in penalties in a deal to have the supplier ban lifted. The ban, imposed in April in relation to sanction violations, crippled ZTE and became a source of friction in Sino-U.S. trade talks.

($ 1 = 6.8300 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Sijia Jiang and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Edmund Blair

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Facebook’s Stock Just Took a Massive Hit, Wiping Off As Much As $145 Billion in Market Cap
July 26, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Facebook’s problems have reached a boiling point. After months of questions and, often reluctant, disclosures about massive information leaks and about how it handles false information on its site seen by hundreds of millions of people, disappointing user growth caused the social network’s stock to plummet in after-hours trading on Wednesday, shedding over $ 145 billion in market cap.

Investors’ alarm was likely triggered by a failure in growth in its most important markets, the combined U.S. and Canada segment and Europe. U.S. and Canadian traffic was flat from the previous quarter, while Europe shed 3 million average daily users quarter over quarter, down to 279 million.

U.S. and Canadian Facebook visitors provided an average revenue per user (ARPU) in the latest quarter of $ 25.91, the vast majority from advertising, while the ARPU of Europeans was $ 8.76, according to figures provided by Facebook. Other markets offer much less value: Asia-Pacific users rack up just $ 2.61 in revenue, and the rest of the world lumped together, a mere $ 1.91.

The drop in European visitors was potentially due to the continuous revelations highlighted there about Facebook’s breaches and weaknesses, and the implementation of the European Union and related entities’ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in late May. The GDPR requires more disclosure and opting in to many tracking and ad-related behaviors that aren’t related to the core function of a website.

While the company saw revenue up 42% year-over-year to $ 13.2 billion in its second quarter, that was short of what Wall Street expected. Net income was similarly up, to $ 5.1 billion from $ 3.9 billion the year-ago quarter, but that didn’t assuage investors and institutions. The after-hours plunge came despite Facebook also beating a consensus estimate of earnings per share of $ 1.72 by two cents.

This slowing growth in valuable markets may have provided the jitters that led investors to significant after-hours profit taking. The company had a nearly unbroken steady climb in its stock price since mid-2014, with a blip shedding 15% in a matter of days in March when revelations about alleged data misuse by Cambridge Analytica emerged. Facebook stock recovered gradually, and was up 29% in the last year and 21% in 2018 through the close of regular trading today, rising to a new high of 217.50, before the after-hours tumble. Nearly the last year’s gains have now been lost.

Facebook has no end in sight for scrutiny and oversight, with regulators, prosecutors, and other public and private parties in multiple countries examining the company’s actions, those of nation states allegedly manipulating news and advertising, and that of firms like Cambridge Analytica, which obtained massive amounts of information that many Facebook users likely considered private.

Yesterday, BuzzFeed published a memo by chief security officer Alex Stamos written to staff in March after the initial Cambridge Analytica stories broke in which he urged the company to pick sides on important issues. Stamos reportedly still plans to leave the company next month, following a reorganization that the New York Times said earlier this year took away 98% of the group he managed. Today, Facebook’s chief legal officer announced he’s departing at the end of this year for family reasons.

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London taxi drivers plot to sue Uber for over $1.5 billion: Sky News
July 24, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

LONDON (Reuters) – London taxi drivers are drawing up a plan to sue mobile app Uber for over 1 billion pounds ($ 1.3 billion), Sky News reported on Tuesday citing unidentified sources, weeks after it was granted a temporary licence to operate in Britain’s capital.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Uber is seen on an iPad, during a news conference to announce Uber resumes ride-hailing service, in Taipei, Taiwan April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Sky News said the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) was likely to argue that 25,000 black-cab drivers in London had suffered lost earnings averaging around 10,000 pounds for at least five years as a result of Uber’s failings, taking the overall possible bill to 1.25 billion pounds ($ 1.64 billion).

The report said it had engaged the law firm Mishcon de Reya to explore the options.

Uber won a probationary licence to operate in the city last month, after Transport for London (TfL) had refused to renew it last September for failings in its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

The LTDA were not immediately available for comment. Uber declined to comment.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Kate Holton

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Chinese online group Pinduoduo targets up to $1.63 billion in U.S. IPO
July 16, 2018 6:53 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Chinese online group discounter Pinduoduo is planning to raise up to $ 1.63 billion from a U.S. listing, its latest filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange showed, in what will be one of the biggest U.S. float by Chinese firms in four years.

Pinduoduo, owned by Walnut Street Group, plans to sell about 85.6 million American Depositary Shares in its initial public offering (IPO) at a price range of $ 16 to $ 19 each, according to its filing, which was uploaded to the exchange website on Monday.

The company, backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, will open the book to institutional investors on Tuesday and price its IPO next Wednesday, said two people close to the transaction.

Pinduoduo expects to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “PDD.”

The company is the latest in a series of Chinese tech groups flocking to list in New York or Hong Kong, seeking to replenish its coffers amid the fierce competition with domestic rivals, notably e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com, even as trade tensions between China and the United States rattle global markets.

China’s Meituan Dianping, an online food delivery-to-ticketing services platform which rivals Alibaba-backed food-delivery peer Ele.me, is also looking to launch its IPO of over $ 4 billion in Hong Kong in coming months.

Loss-making Pinduoduo, set up by former Google engineer Colin Huang in 2015, also counts Sequoia Capital China as a major investor.

In an initial filing, the company, which allows consumers to group together to increase the discounts offered by merchants, claimed 103 million active users of its mobile platform as of the end of March.

The Shanghai-based firm was valued at $ 15 billion in an April fundraising round and was looking to double that, Thomson Reuters publication IFR has reported.

Thanks to its low-priced products and larger user base in China’s smaller cities, the company’s gross merchandise volume exceeded 100 billion yuan last year, a milestone for Chinese e-commerce firms that took Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace five years and JD.com 10 years to reach. Pinduoduo’s revenues have grown sharply, reaching 1.38 billion yuan ($ 206.4 million) in the first quarter of 2018 from 37 million yuan a year ago. Net losses, however, remained broadly steady at 201 million yuan.

CICC, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and China Renaissance are advising Pinduoduo, according to the filing.

Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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China media group CMC raises $1.5 billion from Alibaba, Tencent
July 3, 2018 6:30 am|Comments (0)

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese state-backed media group CMC Inc said on Tuesday that it had raised around 10 billion yuan ($ 1.49 billion) in a fund-raising round from investors including rival tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

FILE PHOTO – Li Ruigang, Founding Chairman, China Media Capital (CMC), People’s Republic of China, attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

CMC, formerly CMC Holdings which stretches from sports to amusement parks, said the A-round fundraising was led by the two tech firms along with new investors such as property developer China Vanke Co Ltd.

CMC, founded by media magnate Li Ruigang in 2015, added the firm was valued at around 400 billion yuan after the round.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Japan's Sharp ditches $2 billion share issue plan after investor backlash
June 29, 2018 6:23 am|Comments (0)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sharp Corp scrapped a plan to issue up to $ 2 billion in new shares, changing its mind in a matter of weeks after the initial announcement prompted investors to dump its shares on fears of earnings per share dilution.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Sharp Corp is pictured at the CEATEC JAPAN 2017 (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan, October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

In a statement on Friday, Sharp cited worries about trade frictions between the United States and China. “Due to increasing market uncertainties, the company decided that carrying on with the plan to issue new shares would not yield maximum benefit for shareholders,” it said.

Sharp shares rose 17 percent by early afternoon as investors cheered the about-face. The plans to issue new shares, announced on June 5, had sparked a sell-off on the market as they would have eroded Sharp’s earnings per share by about 20 percent.

“The shares fell after the announcement, so they decided to quit. It’s that simple,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan.

“To announce a new share issue, and then say ‘we changed our mind’ because the shares fell… that’s not common but not unprecedented.”

Sharp had previously said it would use funds from the new shares to buy back preferred shares that were issued to banks in return for a financial bailout in 2015. The plan was finalised just a week ago.

FILE PHOTO – A logo of Sharp Corp is pictured at CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) JAPAN 2016 at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

The company had tried to persuade investors that the issuance would benefit them in the long run, saying dilution would be more if the preferred shares were converted into regular stock.

Sharp’s shares sank 21 percent since the June 5 announcement until Friday’s open, compared with a 1 percent fall in the broader Tokyo stock market over the same period.

The company said it would continue to discuss with the banks to dissolve the preferred shares.

Sharp has been showing signs of recovery under Taiwan’s Foxconn, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer which is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd.

It recently posted its first annual net profit in four years, helped in large part by cost cuts but also by Foxconn’s sales network in China. It has also said it will buy Toshiba Corp’s personal computer business for $ 36 million.

Some analysts said the Osaka-based electronics maker had become more decisive and responsive to shareholders since it was taken over by Foxconn two years ago.

“My impression is that Sharp has really changed as a company,” said Hajime Nakajima, chief strategist at investment advisory firm AsLink, adding the management’s decision on the matter was a speedy one.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Additional reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Shinichi Saoshiro and Yoshiyuki Osada; Writing by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Richard Pullin and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Meituan-Dianping files for Hong Kong IPO; aims to raise over $4 billion: sources
June 25, 2018 6:16 am|Comments (0)

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Meituan-Dianping, an online food delivery-to-ticketing services platform, is bringing its sizable initial public offering (IPO) to Hong Kong, where it aims to raise over $ 4 billion, three people with knowledge of the deal said.

Drivers of food delivery service Meituan are seen in Beijing, China April 11, 2018. Picture taken April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

The firm filed plans late on Friday for the city’s second multibillion-dollar tech float this year after smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp’s blockbuster IPO of up to $ 6.1 billion. Meituan-Dianping 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.

The Beijing-based firm, backed by gaming and social media company Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), was valued at around $ 30 billion in a fundraising round last year.

It is aiming for a $ 60 billion valuation with the IPO, though industry insiders said it may have difficulty reaching that target as it is still money-losing and relies on a cash-burning business model to boost growth.

The firm is likely to list in October, said the people, who declined to be identified as the information was not public.

Meituan-Dianping did not detail the amount of funds targeted or a time frame. It declined to comment on its planned IPO when contacted by Reuters.

Founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Wang Xing, Meituan, likened to U.S. discounting platform Groupon Inc (GRPN.O), in 2015 completed a $ 15 billion merger with Dianping, akin to U.S. online review firm Yelp Inc (YELP.N). 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 Ele.me, backed by e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N), and leading ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T).

In its draft prospectus, which gave investors the first detailed look at its financial health ahead of the IPO, the company disclosed a 19 billion yuan ($ 2.9 billion) loss for 2017, steeper than in the previous two years.

Its adjusted net loss – which excludes the impact of fair value changes of convertible redeemable preferred shares and other items – was 2.85 billion yuan, smaller than losses of 5.35 billion yuan in 2016 and 5.91 billion yuan in 2015, the prospectus showed.

Revenue rose to 33.9 billion yuan in fiscal 2017, sharply higher than the 12.99 billion yuan made in the prior year.

Meituan-Dianping’s other backers include venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and DST Global, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd and state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd, as well as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Currently, Chief Executive Wang Xing owns 11.4 percent of the company, while Tencent owns 20.1 percent and Sequoia Capital 11.4 percent. Wang will remain controlling shareholder after the listing, the prospectus showed.

Being holders of Class A shares, Wang and two other co-founders, Mu Rongjun and Wang Huiwen, will be beneficiaries of a weighted voting rights structure, or dual-class shares, which give greater power to founding shareholders even with minority shareholding. Each Class A share has 10 votes while each Class B share has one vote.

The firm has mandated Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) to jointly sponsor its IPO. China Renaissance is the financial adviser.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan in Shanghai, Julie Zhu and Fiona Lau of IFR in Hong Kong, Aaron Saldanha in Bangalore, and Matthew Miller in BeijingEditing by Christopher Cushing and Edwina Gibbs

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