Chinese online anime-streaming platform Bilibili Inc. has filed a F-1 form to raise as much as US$400 million via a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, after being rumored to plan a U.S. IPO for months.
In an initial F-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission submitted Friday night U.S. time, the company did not disclose pricing or the time table of the listing. But since speculated to plan an IPO last October, the company has moved quickly and is expected to push ahead the IPO process speedily, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Started as an online comics and games platform targeting the young generation, Bilibili has evolved into an online entertainment platform covering videos, live broadcasting and mobile games. It had average monthly active users of 72 million as of the fourth quarter 2017, and 82% of its users are Generation Z, individuals born from 1990 to 2009 in China.
Bilibili’s net revenues grew from RMB131.0 million (US$20.1 million) in 2015 to RMB523.3 million (US$80.4 million) in 2016 and further to RMB2,468.4 million (US$379.4 million) in 2017. Though the company is still operating at a loss, recording a net loss of RMB373.5 million (US$57.4 million), RMB911.5 million (US$140.1 million) and RMB183.8 million (US$28.2 million) in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively, according to the filing.
The fate of Bilibili is in great contrast to its peer, AcFun, which was backed by SB China Capital (SBCVC)and Chinese online video platform Youku Tudou. AcFun was shut down last month after years of management reshuffling and ownership changes.
China’s online entertainment industry market reached RMB205.8 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29.6% to RMB752.7 billion in 2021. In particular, the population of Generation Z has reached 328 million in 2016. Their market share contribution to the online entertainment industry in China in terms of dollar spending is expected to grow from 45.8% in 2014, to 54.8% in 2017 and further to 62.1% in 2020, according to iResearch.
Bilibili is backed by a number of Chinese investment firms. China’s media sector-focused private equity firm CMC Capital owns 12.8% and IDG-Accel China Funds owns 7.6% of the company. Chinese private equity firm Legend Capital and entities of Tencent Holdings own 5.9% and 5.2%, respectively of the company.
Rui Chen, founder and chairman of Bilibili, owns an interest of 21.5%. Chen previously co-founded Cheetah Mobile and served in senior management capacity at Kingsoft.
The Bilibili IPO counts Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan as its joint bookrunners.