China startup Nio hires eight banks for up to $2 billion US IPO

The company seeks fresh capital to finance its expansion in areas including autonomous driving


Reuters February 28, 2018
A man is silhouetted in front of Nio cars at the auto show, in Shanghai, China April 20, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio has hired eight banks including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to work on a planned US stock market listing this year worth up to $2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Other banks are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, and UBS, said the people, declining to be identified as the deal details are not public.

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Nio’s proposed IPO of $1 billion-$2 billion comes as the firm, founded by Chinese internet entrepreneur William Li in 2014, seeks fresh capital to finance its expansion and investments in areas including autonomous driving and battery technologies, one of them said.

At the top end of the potential offering size, Nio’s IPO would become the biggest Chinese listing in America since the $25 billion public float of e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2014. In October 2016, Chinese logistics company ZTO Express raised $1.41 billion from an IPO in New York.

Nio declined to comment on its IPO plans. UBS, Citigroup, and Goldman declined to comment while the other banks did not immediately respond to Reuters emailed request for comment.

Shanghai-based Nio, formerly known as NextEV, is among the first of a raft of Chinese electric vehicle firms to launch a production vehicle, with many so far only showing concept cars.

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It launched sales of its first mass production car - the ES8 pure-electric, a seven-seat sport-utility vehicle in December, at about half the price of American peer Tesla’s Model X. It has also vowed to bring an autonomous electric car to the US market by 2020.

Nio counts Asian tech behemoth Tencent as its main backer alongside investment firms Hillhouse Capital Group and Sequoia Capital.

Last November, the firm raised more than $1 billion in its latest fundraising round, led by existing investor Tencent, valuing the firm at about $5 billion.

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