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BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Smartphone and connected device maker Xiaomi [IPO-XMGP.HK] filed for a Hong Kong initial public offering on Thursday that could raise $ 10 billion and become the largest listing by a Chinese technology firm in almost four years.
Xiaomi’s IPO, which will be one of the first in Hong Kong under new rules to attract tech firm listings, is a major win for the bourse as competition heats up between Hong Kong, New York and the Chinese mainland.
The listing is expected to raise about $ 10 billion via the public offering, giving Beijing-based Xiaomi a market value of between $ 80 billion and $ 100 billion, people familiar with the plans told Reuters.
Those targets, if achieved, will make it the biggest Chinese tech IPO since Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) raised $ 21.8 billion in 2014.
Xiaomi’s prospectus gave investors the first detailed look at its financial health ahead of the much-hyped IPO, which could be launched as soon as end-June, according to the people close to the process who requested anonymity as the details were not yet public.
The numbers underscore how Xiaomi has remained resilient even as the global smartphone market has slowed, helped in part by a push overseas into markets like India.
The company said its revenue was 114.62 billion yuan ($ 18 billion) in 2017, up 67.5 percent against 2016. Operating profit for 2017 was 12.22 billion yuan, up from 3.79 billion yuan a year ago.
It made a net loss of 43.89 billion yuan versus a profit of 491.6 million yuan in 2016, though this was impacted by the fair value changes of convertible redeemable preference shares.
Alongside smartphones, Xiaomi makes dozens of internet-connected home appliances and gadgets, including scooters, air purifiers and rice cookers, although it derives most of its profits from internet services.
Xiaomi doubled its shipments in 2017 to become the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, according to Counterpoint Research, defying a global slowdown in smartphone sales.
It is also making a big push outside China’s borders, with 28 percent of its sales derived from overseas markets last year, up from 6.1 percent in 2015.
Yet margins on its smartphones are razor-thin. Xiaomi posted a gross profit margin of just 8.8 percent for its smartphone business in 2017 compared to 60 percent for its internet services business.
According to some analyst estimates, Apple’s flagship iPhone X and iPhone 8 have gross margins of around 60 percent.
The company makes the lion’s share of its profit – 60 percent – from internet services, including gaming and advertising linked to its homegrown user interface, MIUI, which had 190 million monthly active users as of March 2018.
Xiaomi’s listing plans come as the company and its investors look to capitalize on a bull run for the Hong Kong market, which has seen the benchmark Hang Seng Index rise about 27 percent over the past year.
Armed with the new rules allowing the listing of companies with dual-class structures, Hong Kong is eyeing several tech listings that are expected in the coming two years from Chinese firms with a combined market cap of $ 500 billion.
Xiaomi said in its IPO application the company would have a weighted voting rights (WVR) structure, or dual-class shares. The WVR give greater power to founding shareholders even with minority shareholding.
The structure would allow the company to benefit from the “continuing vision and leadership” of the dual-class share beneficiaries, who would control the company for its “long-term prospects and strategy”, it said.
Dual-class shares have been a contentious topic in Hong Kong since the city’s strict adherence to a one-share-one-vote principle cost it the float of Alibaba, which instead listed in New York.
Xiaomi is also likely to be among the first Chinese tech firms seeking a secondary listing in its home market, using the planned China depositary receipts route, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
CLSA, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc are sponsoring Xiaomi’s IPO.
($ 1 = 6.3610 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Cate Cadell in Beijing, Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing Stephen Coates
AT&T and Time Warner argued on Tuesday that their proposed $ 85.4 billion merger was “pro-competitive” and “pro-consumer,” as they sought to refute U.S. Justice Department allegations that the deal breaks antitrust law.
In a joint court filing, the companies focused on rebutting government efforts to show that AT&T, which owns pay-TV provider DirecTV, would raise rates for rival pay-TV companies to use Time Warner’s movies and TV shows.
They also argued that the government was wrong to worry that the deal would hamper the development of online video.
They did not mention President Donald Trump or the White House. Trump has repeatedly criticized Time Warner’s CNN news unit and announced his opposition to the deal before last year’s presidential election, saying it would concentrate too much power in AT&T’s hands.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is skeptical of the deal, said last week he was nonetheless worried that the antitrust issue was being used for political reasons. Other lawmakers have expressed similar concerns.
The Justice Department last week sued AT&T to block its planned acquisition of Time Warner.
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In the filing on Tuesday, the companies said that they operate in highly competitive markets which will remain competitive after they close the deal.
They noted that streaming service Netflix has 100 million subscribers globally, while tech firms Apple, Google and Facebook were investing billions of dollars in video. Hulu and Amazon were becoming contenders in video distribution, while others, like social messaging company Snapchat, were starting to enter the market, they added.
“Against this backdrop, the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner is a pro-competitive, pro-consumer response to an intensely competitive and rapidly changing video marketplace,” the companies said in the filing.
“This transaction presents absolutely no risk of harm to competition or consumers.”
The trial will be heard by Judge Richard Leon at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Leon was nominated to the court by former Republican President George W. Bush and is no stranger to high-profile cases. Leon signed off on the Justice Department’s 2011 deal which allowed Comcast to buy NBC Universal and has heard a number of private antitrust cases. In the 1990s, he worked on House of Representatives panels looking at the Iran-Contra affair and the Whitewater controversy.
Termination date for the deal is April 22, 2018.