AI Firm SenseTime Prices Hong Kong IPO at Bottom of Range
(Bloomberg) -- Chinese artificial intelligence firm SenseTime Group Inc. is likely to price its Hong Kong initial public offering at the bottom of its marketed range, according to people familiar with the matter.
SenseTime plans to offer 1.5 billion shares at HK$3.85 apiece, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public yet. At that price, it would raise about HK$5.78 billion ($741 million). The company had marketed the shares at HK$3.85 to HK$3.99 each, with trading debut set for Dec. 30.
No final decision has been reached and details may still change, the people said. A representative for SenseTime didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours in Hong Kong.
The AI startup reopened orders on Dec. 20 for its first-time share sale after a move by the U.S. Treasury Department to sanction the company derailed the original schedule. Washington has alleged SenseTime’s facial-recognition software is used in the oppression of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang autonomous region of western China. The company has said the accusations are unfounded.
The “dynamic and evolving nature of the relevant U.S. regulations” prompted it to exclude U.S. investors from the offering, the company said in a revised filing this week. The sanctions still won’t stop a U.S. investor from buying or trading its class B shares, it said.
Earlier this week, the company said it secured about $512 million from nine cornerstone investors. They include Mixed-Ownership Reform Fund, Shanghai Xuhui Capital Investment Co., Shanghai Guosheng Group, Shanghai AI Fund, SAIC Motor, Guotai Junan Investments, a venture fund under the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp., C-Mer Group and Taizhou Culture & Tourism.
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