Bitmain’s IPO Application is about to Expire
Bitmain, the world’s leading cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer, is likely to let its application for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong lapse later today on Mar 25, which may signal the failure of its first effort to go public unless it’s listed on the last day.
The Beijing-based mega-seller of crypto miners filed for an IPO in Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) six months ago on Sep 26, 2018, after it gained billions of dollars from selling crypto mining devices in the 2017 bull run. It is reportedly hoping to raise $18 billion with a market capitalization of $40 to $50 billion, which would be world’s largest IPO in history if Bitmain makes it.
Since then, controversies about Bitmain has abounded. First big investors denied their involvement in its pre-IPO funding, and later its financial information exposed the company dumped massive bitcoin for Bitcoin Cash which roused the suspicion of its manipulation of BCH, as well as concerns about its financial standing in the second half of 2018 amid the crypto sluggish. On the other hand, the continuous rollout of more powerful crypto miners from competing rivals also makes the company panic. It even went far as “Bitmain is to go bankrupt” and “Jihan Wu to step down from CEO”.
What’s worse, the past six months has seen the volatile crypto market lose more than $80 billion in market cap and crypto mining in a sharp downturn, plus other mining giants Canaan’s and Ebang’s failure in their IPOs, Bitmain has been facing a high bar in convincing HKEX. According to sources citing Coindesk, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is reluctant to approve Bitmain’s IPO.
“The exchange is very hesitant to actually approve these bitcoin mining companies because the industry is so volatile. There’s a real risk that they could just not exist anymore in a year or two…The HKEX doesn’t want to be the first exchange in the world to approve this and have one die on them.”
Soon six months has passed. Based on listing rules and guidance of HKEX, if an IPO applicant does not make it to a listing hearing after six months from filing, the application will lapse, that means, the case is no longer active; if the applicant still wishes to pursue the fundraising there, it could choose to later reactivate the case, and in this case, Bitmain must disclose its controversial financial figures of the second half 2018 (up to Sep. 30 at least), according to the HKEX’s current listing requirements (the financial period reported by any new applicant must not have ended more than six months from the date of the listing document).
Bitmain’s IPO bid, together with the other two mining giants’, was seen as a watershed event as it marked the first time a major crypto startup seeking to go public.