Citi  Replaces Credit Suisse on WeDoctor IPO Role

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. has been picked for a top role on WeDoctor’s Hong Kong initial public offering, replacing Credit Suisse Group AG, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Citi will now work alongside JPMorgan Chase & Co. and CMB International Securities Ltd. to lead the share sale of one of China’s top online health-care startups, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Credit Suisse has dropped off from the deal recently, Bloomberg News reported earlier this week.

An IPO of WeDoctor, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., was expected to happen before the end of the year, people familiar with the matter have said. The startup aims to raise between $500 million and $1 billion, a person has said.

Details of the share sale including size and timeline could still change as deliberations continue, people said. Representatives for WeDoctor and Citi declined to comment.

Credit Suisse was dealt a fresh blow to its business taking companies in the region public after being named in a lawsuit alongside fellow underwriters of Luckin Coffee Inc.’s U.S. share sale. Luckin said last week its chief operating officer and some of its employees may have fabricated billions of yuan in sales.

Health-care IPOs are expected to have a higher chance of success than those involving companies in sectors that have been hit hard by the coronavrius outbreak, from aviation to retail and tourism. Shares of Ping An Healthcare and Technology Co., which runs the Ping An Good Doctor app, have surged 52% in Hong Kong this year, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index tanked 15% as the pathogen hurt the global economic outlook.

WeDoctor joins a growing contingent of tech giants hoping to revolutionize the traditional health-care industry after the pandemic underscored its shortcomings. The company is on the prowl for expansion capital and this year laid the foundation for a public debut by hiring John Cai, formerly chief executive officer for AIA Group Ltd.’s operations in markets including China, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The startup, whose business ranges from insurance policies and medical supplies to online appointment-booking and clinics, was valued at around $5.5 billion in a 2018 funding round.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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