China's Didi plans Hong Kong 'listing by introduction', picks banks – sources

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Global plans to use a mechanism that will allow it to list shares in Hong Kong without raising capital or issuing new stock as it seeks to delist from New York, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The plans come as Didi is moving towards withdrawing from the New York Stock Exchange under pressure from Beijing after running foul of Chinese authorities by pushing ahead with an initial public offering (IPO) there earlier this year despite being asked to put it on hold while a review of its data practices was conducted.

The Hong Kong mechanism, known as ‘listing by introduction’, would allow owners of Didi U.S. shares to transfer them to the city’s bourse gradually, said the people. They declined to be identified as the plan was not yet public.

Didi aims to file for the Hong Kong listing by end-April and list by June, one of the people said.

The plans are being prepared six months after Didi, sometimes dubbed the Uber Technologies Inc of China, made its debut in New York after raising $4.4 billion in a conventional IPO.

It said earlier this month that it plans to delist from the U.S. bourse and pursue a Hong Kong listing.

A spokesperson for Didi, whose apps, in addition to ride-hailing, offer products such as delivery and financial services, did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Unlike typical IPOs, companies listing stock by introduction in Hong Kong raise no capital and issue no new shares. The mechanism was popular among companies in the past looking to build a brand in Hong Kong and the rest of Greater China.

Didi has picked Goldman Sachs, China Merchants Bank International (CMBI), and China Construction Bank International (CCBI) to manage the Hong Kong listing process, said the people.

Goldman declined to comment, while CMBI, and CCBI did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Reuters reported this month Didi planned to hire Goldman to work on the Hong Kong listing before embarking on the New York delisting. It had asked the bank to come up with proposals on how a Hong Kong listing and New York delisting would work.

Goldman was one of the main underwriters of Didi’s New York IPO, along with Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan.

(Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Zhang Yan in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Sophie Yu, Selena Li and Scott Murdoch; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Kenneth Maxwell)