Qutoutiao seeks $45 million in new share offering

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Content platform Qutoutiao announced on Thursday that is seeking to raise up to $45 million in a new share offering of 10 million American depositary shares (ADS), representing 2.5 million Class A ordinary shares, according to a company announcement.

The offering marks Qutoutiao’s return to the capital markets fewer than seven months after it went public on Nasdaq. It joins a number of Chinese tech companies including Baidu-backed iQiyi that went public in 2018 and is seeking more funding from the markets.

Qutoutiao will be issuing approximately 3.3 million ADS, and selling shareholders will be offering the remaining approximately 6.7 million shares, at a public offering price of US$10 per ADS. Underwriters of the offering can purchase up to 1.5 million additional shares.

The company is expected to raise around $31 million in net proceeds, or around $45 million if underwriters purchase additional ADS in full. The company said that it will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes.

A day before Qutoutiao’s offering, video sharing website Bilibili raised more than $824 million from the sales of a convertible bond and new shares, Reuters reported. On Mar. 26, online video platform iQiyi also announced its plan to raise $1.05 billion through a convertible bonds.

The share prices for all three companies dropped after their respective announcements of new offerings. Qutoutiao shares fell by as much as 12% on Wednesday.

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, CLSA Limited, Jefferies, Haitong International Securities and Lighthouse Capital International are the joint bookrunners for Qutoutiao’s offering.

Qutoutiao saw explosive growth in monthly active users and net revenues but also significantly widened net losses in 2018 as it attempted to grab share in lower-tier markets, where rival Bytedance’s content aggregator Jinri Toutiao has a weaker presence. While Qutoutiao’s net revenues of 2018 increased more than 400% year-on-year, net losses swelled close to 21 times year-on-year.

The company also plans to make advances into live-streaming, games, and e-commerce, CEO Siliang Tan said at the company’s earnings call.