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SoftBank-backed KE Holdings shares surge in New York debut

By Anirban Sen and Noor Zainab Hussain

Aug 13 – Shares of SoftBank-backed KE Holdings Inc jumped 75% in their New York debut on Thursday, after the Chinese online real estate broker raised $2.12 billion in its initial public offering that was priced above its earlier target range.

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

The company, which owns property brokerage brand Lianjia and housing transactions platform Beike, said earlier on Thursday it sold 106 million ADSs for $20 each. (https://bwnews.pr/33TNiLI)

The company had aimed to sell each ADS, representing three class A ordinary shares, at between $17 and $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 $2.4 billion from its U.S. listing.

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

Despite the threat and rising U.S.-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 U.S. listing lighter than that in mainland China or Hong Kong.

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

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, China Renaissance, J.P. Morgan and CICC were among the underwriters for KE’s IPO. (Reporting by Anirban Sen and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)

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