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Tencent-Backed Retailer Mogu Drops in Trading Debut

The Chinese company’s American depositary shares opened at $12 in trading in New York Thursday, well below the $14 IPO price.
Mogu listed on the New York Stock Exchange | Photo: Bryan R. Smith / AFP / Getty Images
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  • Bloomberg

NEW YORK, United States — Mogu, the fashion and cosmetics online retailer backed by Tencent Holdings, fell as much as 14 percent in its US trading debut after earlier scaling back ambitions for its US initial public offering.

The Chinese company’s American depositary shares opened at $12 in trading in New York Thursday, well below a $14 IPO price that was at the bottom of the $14 to $16 marketed range. Mogu sold 4.75 million shares on Tuesday to raise $67 million. The shares were trading at $12.82 at 2:05 p.m., giving the company a market value of about $1.2 billion.

Mogu was targeting a market value of $4 billion earlier this year before a sell-off hit demand for tech stocks and forced it to cut that goal in half, people familiar with the matter said last month. Mogu was valued at $3 billion when it was created in 2016 through the merger of Meilishuo and Mogujie.

The IPO marked the latest in a string of debuts this year by companies backed or controlled by Tencent, including Hong Kong-traded internet services giant Meituan Dianping and New York-listed electric vehicle maker NIO. On Monday, Tencent’s music-streaming arm said it will market its US IPO shares at $13 to $15 each, which would raise as much as $1.23 billion when it prices its shares on Tuesday.

Shares of the 38 China-based companies that have raised a combined total of $8.6 billion in US IPOs this year are up 6.5 percent on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 172 US listings raising $40 billion for companies based elsewhere. Shares of those companies are up an average of 8.5 percent, the data shows.

‘Hard to Time’

Trade tensions between the Trump administration and China didn’t have a bearing on Mogu’s debut because it’s focused on its domestic market, Helen Wu, the company’s chief financial officer, said in an interview. While it was “hard to time” the entry into capital markets, the listing is part of a long-term strategic plan, she said.

“Getting listed on the New York Stock Exchange will help build our brand, and in the fashion industry, brand is very important,” Wu said. “The tech market is hard to predict.”

Mogu, which targets China’s millennial and Generation-Z shoppers, had an average of 62.6 million monthly average users on its mobile platform during the year ended September 30, according to a regulatory filing. It said it lost $44 million on revenue of $71 million for the six months ended September 30.

Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group and China Renaissance Holdings led Mogu’s offering. The shares are trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MOGU.

By Michael Hytha and Selina Wang; editors: Elizabeth Fournier, Ben Scent, Jillian Ward, Matthew Monks amd Amy Thomson; with assistance from Crystal Tse.

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