Meituan-Dianping Feasts on $4 Billion in New Cash
Online group-buying and restaurant-services operator Meituan-Dianping said Thursday it has raised a fresh $4 billion in funding, as U.S. travel services giant Priceline joined an A-list of investors who valued the company at $30 billion.
Other investors in the latest funding round — one of the biggest of all time for a Chinese high-tech firm — included Sequoia Capital, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd., Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Trustbridge Partners, Meituan-Dianping said in a statement.
“With the completion of this funding round, Meituan-Dianping has entered a completely new phase,” said CEO Wang Xing. “We have a mission of letting people ‘eat better and live better,’ and now Meituan-Dianping will take on even more social responsibilities.”
As part of its new involvement with the Chinese company, the Priceline Group Inc. has signed a strategic partnership to work with Meituan-Dianping’s own travel service. Priceline is already an investor in Ctrip.com International Ltd., China’s leading online travel services provider.
Meituan-Dianping was formed two years ago through the merger of China’s leading group-buying and restaurant-rating sites. Reports at the time said the company was worth about $15 billion. Since then it has also gone into the online takeout sector, where its main competitor is the leader formed by the recent merger of Ele.me and the takeout service operated by Baidu Inc.
Earlier this year, Meituan-Dianping said it was operating on a break-even basis, as it shot down rumors that it was having trouble raising cash. At that time the company said it currently had more than $3 billion, and that it hadn’t launched a new fund-raising round.
The company has been rumored to be pursuing an IPO in the past, but its weak profits were said to be an obstacle to attracting interesting from ordinary stock buyers.
Contact reporter Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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