Citi, Credit Suisse drop China's Ucommune U.S. IPO over valuation: sources

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By Scott Murdoch and Julie Zhu

SYDNEY/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Citigroup (N:) and Credit Suisse (S:) have dropped out of the U.S. initial public offering (IPO) of Chinese shared workspace provider Ucommune, baulking at its desired valuation, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Ucommune’s latest filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission list Chinese banks Haitong International and China Renaissance as leading the planned IPO.

Earlier filings had named Citi and Credit Suisse, but both walked away over the past few days because they could not agree an achievable valuation with Ucommune, the people said, declining to be identified because the information was private.

Ucommune did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Citigroup and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

“There was a big gap between what the company had hoped to achieve and where the market is sitting now,” one said, adding that pressure for a higher valuation also came from some investors who took stakes in recent private funding rounds.

Ucommune raised $200 million in November last year, giving the Beijing-based group a valuation of $2.6 billion.

At least one adviser warned Ucommune in recent weeks that it would likely get a lower valuation from its IPO – a so-called down round when the latest funding gives a company a lower valuation than the preceding one – one of the sources said.

Ucommune refused to accept the advice, the source added.

While Ucommune’s preliminary filing did not provide any details of the size of the offering, sources have previously told Reuters it was aiming to raise about $200 million.

Reuters revealed Ucommune’s IPO plans in October in the week that its larger U.S.-based rival WeWork was forced to accept a $10 billion bailout after investors, eying its mounting losses, baulked at the valuation it sought from its IPO.

Ucommune, which says it has shared workspaces in 200 locations across 44 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York, posted a net loss of 572.8 million yuan ($81 million) for the nine months to the end of September on revenue of 874.6 million yuan.

Its IPO push comes just as Ping An Insurance’s OneConnect Financial Technology cut its planned U.S. IPO and lowered its target valuation to up to $3.64 billion, well below the $7.5 billion in its maiden funding round last year.

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