July 9, 2020 / 6:49 AM / a month ago

Chinese video site Bilibili considers secondary Hong Kong listing: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese video site Bilibili (BILI.O) is considering a secondary listing in Hong Kong, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter, joining other U.S.-listed Chinese companies eyeing a return to the exchange closer to home amid China-U.S. tensions.

The company, which is backed by Chinese tech giants Tencent (0700.HK) and Alibaba (BABA.N) and went public on Nasdaq in March 2018, has held preliminary talks with investment banks about the secondary listing prospect, the people said.

Bilibili, with a current market capitalization of $16.2 billion, is mulling selling between 5% and 10% of its shares, one of them said. It was not immediately clear how much the company is aiming to raise as the talks are in early stages.

Bilibili will only be able to list in Hong Kong next year, however, the people said, as under the city’s listing rules, it has to have a track record of at least two financial years of good regulatory compliance on another qualifying exchange.

Bilibili did not respond to an emailed query for comment. Calls to its investor relations office went unanswered. The people with knowledge of the matter declined to be named as the information is confidential.

A Hong Kong listing for Bilibili would follow in the steps of several Chinese peers.

Alibaba (BABA.N) raised $12.9 billion in a secondary listing in November 2019. More recently e-tailer JD.com 9618.HK (JD.O) raised $3.9 billion and games developer NetEase Inc 9999.HK (NTES.O) raised $3.1 billion.

The plan comes as the U.S. Senate passed legislation in May that could ban Chinese companies not adhering to Washington’s regulatory and audit standards from listing shares on U.S. exchanges or raising money from American investors.

Nasdaq will also unveil new restrictions on IPOs, a move that will make it harder for some Chinese companies to list on its bourse.

Starting out as an animation site popular with teens, Bilibili is expanding into areas such as documentary, e-sports, and music videos, attracting more than 130 million monthly active users.

Reporting by Julie Zhu and Kane Wu; Editing by Tom Hogue

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