By Kane Wu and Alec Macfarlane
HONG KONG--A Chinese logistics company backed by technology giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Foxconn is planning an initial public offering in the U.S. next year, according to people familiar with the situation.
Best Logistics Technologies Ltd., based in Alibaba's hometown of Hangzhou, is expected to kick off IPO preparations as early as late January, one of the people said.
The company was valued at more than $3 billion after raising $760million from a dozen new investors earlier this year, according to people familiar with the matter. Investors included Fosun International Ltd., SoftBank China Venture Capital, Alibaba's own logistics unit, Cainiao Network, and the World Bank's private-sector investment arm, International Finance Corp, according to a company announcement.
It isn't clear how much the company plans to raise from the offering, the people said. Best Logistics didn't respond to a request for comment.
Chinese logistics companies that support the country's rapidly growing e-commerce industry have attracted billions of dollars from investors. ZTO Express Inc. raised $1.4 billion from its New York IPO in October, making it the largest such offering in the U.S. this year. However, shares in the Shanghai-based company fell 15% from their IPO price during their first day of trading after being priced aggressively at $19.50 a share, exceeding the top end of an expected $16.50 to $18.50 a share range. ZTO shares closed at $14.61 on Wednesday.
Founded in 2007 by Johnny Chou, Google China's former co-president, Best Logistics has grown quickly by building a warehouse and distribution network across China. It operates 400 distribution centers in China as well as three warehouses in the U.S. and one in Germany. It expanded its logistics business to Australia, Japan and Thailand this year. The company also provides domestic and international delivery services for China's online shoppers.
Alibaba has invested in Best Logistics several times since 2009 and has bought about 22% of its shares for a total of $256 million, according to its 2016 annual report. Cainiao Network invested $165 million for about a 5% stake in Best Logistics this year, the report said.
Best Logistics' other existing shareholders include Mr. Chou and electronics assembler Foxconn--known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.-- among others. Goldman Sachs Group Inc's private-equity investment arm is also a shareholder.
Goldman Sachs advised the company on its latest funding round, Best Logistics said in September. Chinese fund-management firms Everbright Asset Management Co. and CITIC Private Equity Funds Management Co. led that round.
Write to Kane Wu at Kane.Wu@wsj.com and Alec Macfarlane at Alec.Macfarlane@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 17, 2016 04:02 ET (09:02 GMT)
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