10 Oct 2017

The Business Times

By BLOOMBERG

New York

SEA Ltd, South-east Asia's most valuable startup that's known for its Garena gaming and shopping platform, aims to raise as much as US$696 million in its US initial public offering.

The Singapore-based company, formerly called Garena, is marketing 49.7 million American depositary shares for US$12 to US$14 apiece, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Sea was founded by Chinese-born entrepreneur Forrest Li, now a Singapore citizen, as an online gaming company in 2009. It has since branched out to add mobile shopping and payment services in South-east Asia. The firm was valued at about US$3.75 billion when it raised US$170 million in a fundraising round in March 2016. In May, Sea secured an additional US$550 million in funding.

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, with a 40 per cent share, owns the biggest private stake in Sea, according to the company's initial filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr Li, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer, is the next biggest holder at 20 per cent.

The company posted a net loss of US$225 million on revenue of US$345.7 million last year, according to the filing. In 2015, Sea saw a net loss of US$107.3 million on revenue of US$292.1 million.

Sea plans to use the proceeds of the sale to grow its business by adding customers and acquiring content.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG are leading the offering, according to the filing. The company has applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SE.

Mr Li previously worked at Viacom Inc and Corning Inc, and served as a member of Singapore's 30-member Committee on the Future Economy to develop the nation's future economic strategies between January 2016 and February 2017, according to the filing.

BLOOMBERG

Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission