Unveiling its full prospectus on Friday, the company said that it will sell its shares in ADS form, at a price of $17-$19 per ADS, with each representing 7 underlying shares ‘A’ Shares. The final price will be set in the coming days and trading begin on March 29.
The regulatory filing showed that revenues grew by 55% in 2017 to hit $2.67 billion and that net losses reached $574 million. iQIYI claimed 50.8 million subscribers at the end of 2017.
Assuming a price of $18 per ADS, the company would have a market capitalization of $13.7 billion, including the ‘B’ shares owned by parent company, Chinese search engine giant Baidu.
That valuation is higher than the $8-10 billion that had been estimated in financial circles a couple of months ago, though in recent days a valuation of up to $15 billion had been buzzed about. And it is several multiples higher than the offer made in 2016 by iQIYI’s founder, Gong Yu, and Baidu co-founder Robin Li together tried to take the company private and buy the company from Baidu. Their $2.8-billion offer was challenged by U.S. investors and quickly withdrawn.
The losses are driven by strong competition for market share and by heavy investment in acquired and original content. The ongoing content spend required the company to raise $1.3 billion from backers including Hillhouse Capital, IDG and Sequoia Capital for ongoing content spend.
Goldman Sachs (Asia), Credit Suisse, BofA Merrill Lynch, China Renaissance, Citi and UBS Investment Bank are the joint bookrunners to the share sale.