China’s top anime streaming site Bilibili plans to raise up $200m in US IPO

The future through Anime. Photo: Reuters TV

Bilibili, China’s top online platform for streaming Japanese animation, is planning a U.S. initial public offering that could raise at least $200 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The website operator aims to list in New York as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Bilibili hosts anime titles including “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations,” based on a sequel to the New York Times bestselling manga series about ninjas that teleport across dimensions.

U.S. first-time share sales from Chinese companies have already raised $1.3 billion this year, nearly triple the same period in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Four of the five such deals this year over $100 million are trading above offer price, including last month’s IPO from Zai Lab Ltd., which has risen 71 percent, the data show.

Baidu Inc.’s iQiyi unit is targeting a U.S. offering as soon as next year in a deal that could value the online video service at more than $8 billion, people familiar with the matter said last month.

Bilibili has acquired more new Japanese anime titles than any other platform in China, beating Tencent Holdings Ltd. and iQiyi, according to a report from consultancy IResearch. The site has licensed more than 300 new Japanese titles from January 2015 through July this year, the report shows.

The size and timing of any offering could change, the people said. A representative for Bilibili declined to comment.

Chen Rui, a founder of Chinese smartphone software developer Cheetah Mobile Inc., invested in Bilibili and has been its chairman since 2014. Bilibili owns a license to show popular Japanese animated drama “Your Name” in China. The cartoon about a boy and a girl who swap bodies in their sleep was Japan’s top-grossing film last year, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Bilibili has invested in about 20 Japanese anime productions since 2015, the company said in an emailed statement. Its site also shows Chinese-produced animation and hosts user-uploaded content. The company’s revenue model includes advertising and pay-per-view subscriptions.

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Bloomberg

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.