SoftBank-backed KE Holdings shares surge in New York debut

Shares of KE, also known as Beike Zhaofang, opened at US$35.06 per American depositary share (ADS), compared to its IPO price of US$20 per ADS. — Reuters pic
Shares of KE, also known as Beike Zhaofang, opened at US$35.06 per American depositary share (ADS), compared to its IPO price of US$20 per ADS. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Aug 14 ― Shares of SoftBank-backed KE Holdings Inc jumped 75 per cent in their New York debut yesterday, after the Chinese online real estate broker raised US$2.12 billion (RM8.9 billion) in its initial public offering that was priced above its earlier target range.

Shares of KE, also known as Beike Zhaofang, opened at US$35.06 per American depositary share (ADS), compared to its IPO price of US$20 per ADS.

The company, which owns property brokerage brand Lianjia and housing transactions platform Beike, said earlier yesterday it sold 106 million ADSs for US$20 each.

The company had aimed to sell each ADS, representing three class A ordinary shares, at between US$17 and US$19.

Apart from SoftBank Group Corp, KE counts Tencent Holdings Ltd, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital among its largest investors.

KE's share sale is the largest IPO of a Chinese company since March 2018, when video streaming site iQiyi raised US$2.4 billion from its US listing.

The IPO comes at a time the US government is threatening to delist Chinese companies that do not meet US accounting standards.

Despite the threat and rising US-China tensions, the allure of a valuation on the world's biggest stock market makes the risk of eventual delisting manageable, while Chinese tech firms find the regulatory burden of a US listing lighter than that in mainland China or Hong Kong.

The listing also marks the second-largest US IPO of the year, after Royalty Pharma, which raised US$2.18 billion in its stock market debut earlier this year.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, China Renaissance, JP Morgan and CICC were among the underwriters for KE's IPO. ― Reuters

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