Coming out next year...1st Qtr. I think...


Shanda Seeking US$300m IPO
December 3, 2003
According to a key investor--Softbank Asia infrastructure Fund (SAIF)--Shanda Networking, China's largest online gaming firm, plans to seek a Nasdaq listing worth at least US$300 million next year.

Shanda, which has an estimated value of more than US$1 billion, would sell 20-25% of its share capital. According to the same source, the sale is being arranged by investment bank Goldman Sachs. SAIF, a joint venture between Japan's Softbank Corp and U.S. networking giant Cisco Systems Inc, invested US$40 million in Shanda in March.

Shanda has 170 million registered users, it said on its Web site http://www.shanda.com.cn. It was founded in 1999 by Timothy Chan, 31, ranked by Forbes magazine as China's sixth-richest person this year with net worth of US$490 million. Analysts have said that China's online gaming industry was conservatively forecast to be worth about two billion yuan (US$242 million) this year and growing more than 100 percent a year. Shanda was already profitable and should earn between 500 million to 600 million yuan in revenue from its South Korea-developed fantasy game, Legend, in 2003, analysts said.

"I think there will be a lot of investor appetite for its IPO because China Internet companies are really hyped right now," said Paul Waide, a director at Shanghai-based consulting firm Pacific Epoch. "They have revenue to back them up." Shanda's most popular offering is Legend, a multi-player fantasy game in which players choose to be a character and spend days, weeks or even months amassing powers and weapons. Players pay a flat fee of 35 yuan a month.