Last November CNN’s website ran the headline: “#WOW! Twitter soars 73% in IPO”. The social media service raised $1.8 billion in its offering, despite having yet to turn a profit.
Now China’s Twitter-equivalent Weibo is looking to ape that success with a New York IPO of its own. Sina, the internet firm that owns 71% of Weibo, has indicated that it will try to float it this year, reports the Financial Times. Last year the service was valued at $3.3 billion after Alibaba purchased an 18% stake. But Sina’s management considers that too low and hopes to change that via an IPO that will value Weibo at upwards of $7 billion.
But the Wall Street Journal has been reporting some diverse views of what the entity is worth. Some brokers think as little as $4.7 billion, well shy of the estimates preferred by the Sina board. One concern is that the service has been losing market share to Tencent’s smartphone-friendly WeChat service, and has suffered in popularity terms as some of its celebrity users have been censored. But the company is emphasising that Weibo is still in growth mode: active daily users in December were 61.4 million, up 4.2% from three months earlier. But Sina’s own stock is down more than 10% since the start of the year on concerns that the Chinese population’s enthusiasm for Weibo may be waning.
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