Attendees watch an animation displayed on a screen at the Anime Japan 2016 convention in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg)  

China's Top Anime Site Said Set to Raise $483 Million in IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Bilibili Inc., China’s top online platform for streaming animation, is poised to raise $483 million in its U.S. initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The website operator plans to price its sale of 42 million American depository shares at $11.50 apiece, the midpoint of a marketed range, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The shares were offered at $10.50 to $12.50 each, according to an earlier regulatory filing.

Bilibili is completing its listing amid volatility in the U.S. stock market, where the benchmark S&P 500 Index is trading down about 9 percent from its all-time high in January. Chinese hotel operator GreenTree Hospitality Group Ltd. priced its U.S. IPO below a marketed range earlier this week, after cutting the amount of shares due to market volatility.

Chen Rui, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the company will use the funds to hire new staff, increase the network capacity for streaming video, and attract content creators.

The company began experimenting with advertising, pushing commercials to users based on the content they watch and social interactions they have on the platform.

“Content creators are very important for us, that’s why we will continue to invest more money to attract them,” said Chen. “We expect a significant increase in advertisement revenue.”

Bilibili hosts Japanese anime titles including “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations,” based on a sequel to the New York Times bestselling manga series about ninjas that teleport across dimensions.

In the fourth quarter last year, the company had 71.8 million average monthly active users, the regulatory filing shows. About 82 percent of Bilibili’s users were born in China from 1990 to 2009, according to QuestMobile data cited in the filing.

Shanghai-based Bilibili reported a 571.5 million yuan ($91 million) net loss last year, compared with a 1.19 billion yuan loss in 2016. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are arranging the company’s offering.

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