SenseTime plans Hong Kong IPO relaunch Monday, sources say

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Logo of SenseTime is seen at SenseTime office, in Shanghai

HONG KONG – Chinese artificial intelligence startup SenseTime Group plans to keep its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) at $767 million as it considers re-launching the withdrawn deal as early as Monday, four people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The people could not be identified as the information is not public.

A spokesperson for SenseTime, which withdrew its Hong Kong IPO on Monday after the administration of U.S. President Biden put the company on a blacklist, declined to comment to Reuters.

The U.S. Treasury added SenseTime to a list of “Chinese military-industrial complex companies,” last week accusing it of having developed a facial recognition programme to determine a target’s ethnicity, with a focus on identifying ethnic Uyghurs.

SenseTime and its advisers were working on Thursday to finalise the cornerstone investor stake in the new IPO, one of the sources said.

It was likely the cornerstone stake would be about $450 million, in line with the first IPO attempt, but the composition of investors could change, they added.

SenseTime is expected to price the deal by the end of next week and list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange before Dec. 31.

Chinese buyers were likely to take nearly all of the $317 million worth of stock in the IPO not taken by cornerstone shareholders, two of the sources said.

SenseTime had not expected the U.S decision, sources told Reuters at the time. It came as the bookbuild to raise $767 million was being finalised.

The company was working to update its prospectus to include the investment ban in its risk factor sections, sources had told Reuters.

SenseTime could launch the deal on Monday to raise the same amount as the initial Hong Kong IPO, they said, pending approval from the Hong Kong exchange of the amended risk disclosures.

SenseTime had planned to sell 1.5 billion shares in a price range of HK$3.85 to HK3.99 each, according to its initial filings.

Bloomberg News first reported the deal’s relaunch on Thursday.

(Reporting by Kane Wu, Scott Murdoch and Julie Zhu; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee, Christopher Cushing and Barbara Lewis)

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