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China property site KE raises US$2.1b in share sale

[BEIJING] Chinese online real estate platform KE Holdings raised US$2.1 billion after pricing a sale of new stock at a 5.2 per cent discount to its last close.

KE sold 35.4 million American depositary shares at US$58 apiece, it said in a statement Thursday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. The company closed at US$61.17 on Wednesday.

The share sale comes just over three months after KE went public in New York, making it the fastest-ever return to selling shares by a US-listed Chinese company after its initial public offering, data compiled by Bloomberg show. KE's value has nearly tripled since its US$2.4 billion IPO in August, marking a much-needed win for backer SoftBank Group Corp.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank invested US$1.35 billion last November in the Beijing-based company, which runs a site called Beike, or "seashells." KE uses a national chain of physical real estate offices that has been around for almost two decades, paired with a two-year-old digital platform that helps match buyers and sellers with artificial intelligence algorithms. KE's other backers include Hillhouse Capital and Tencent Holdings.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and China Renaissance Holdings led KE's offering, according to a prospectus.

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KE is not the only Chinese company raising big funds in the US market this week. On Wednesday e-commerce firm Pinduoduo raised a combined US$5.34 billion from an upsized sale of 28.7 million American depositary shares as well as a five-year zero-coupon convertible bond, according to a statement.

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