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Chinese Movie Ticketing Giant Maoyan Presses On With IPO

Maoyan, one of China’s two largest movie ticket sales platforms, is warming up its plans for an IPO in Hong Kong. The company, which has the backing of Enlight, Tencent and Meituan Dianping, is believed to be aiming to raise about $300 million of fresh capital.

The company published an updated version of its prospectus Thursday following the acceptance of its application by local stock market regulators. That will allow it to begin actively marketing the share issue. An earlier draft was posted in September, with the group name then Entertainment Plus.

The new draft does not specify the timetable or the number of shares to be issued. Local financial media reports have indicated that the share sale is considerably smaller than the $500 million-to-$1 billion scale indicated in September. At that point, the company indicated an overall valuation of $2.9 billion (HK$22.7 billion), and Hong Kong was leading the world in IPOs.

Since that time, share markets in Asia have plunged. Price-to-earnings multiples and corporate valuations have been battered by fears of the U.S.-China trade war, mainland China’s economic slowdown, and investor uncertainty about the tech sector.

China’s box office was reported this week as having grown by 9% in 2018, reaching $8.9 billion (RMB60.9 billion). Online sales, especially via mobile, account for more than 80% of cinema ticket transactions in China.

With that kind of usage, ticketing platforms are also increasingly important vehicles for film marketing and promotion. Maoyan plans to use its IPO proceeds roughly equally to fund infrastructure and development R&D, to enrich its content offerings and services and to make acquisitions, according to the prospectus. It has already indicated the purchase of a minority stake in Huanxi Media.

For the first nine months of 2018, Maoyan saw its revenues double to $446 million (RMB3.06 billion). Losses narrowed slightly in the January to end-September period to $21 million (RMB144 million).

The company has joint sponsors including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. China Renaissance is its financial advisor.

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