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Chinese Social Media Site Renren.com Files For IPO

Chinese social networking site Renren.com filed plans to sell up to nearly USD675 million worth of shares in an initial public offering in the United States this year.

The company, whose founder Joseph Chen is expected to retain about 22.8% of the firm after the IPO, is headquartered in the Cayman Islands. After the IPO, Chen will retain about 55% voting rights in the company.

That Cayman company operates through four China-based technology companies, at least two of which are 99% owned by Joseph Chen’s wife, Yang Jing. It is these four companies that are ultimately responsible for the operations and revenue-generation of the company and from which income will be derived for shareholders of the Renren.com stock in the United States.

According to Chinese laws, foreign businesses can not run or control Internet businesses that dabble in some of the online content and online advertising services that Renren.com runs. Therefore, according to the Renren.com prospectus, “contractual arrangements” connect the Cayman company selling stock to shareholders and the actual operations and intellectual property operating in China. While these types of contractual connections are common among companies in China, they do provide a certain level of risk because these ties can possibly be severed in the future.

In anticipation of its IPO, the company has added four independent directors to its board. Those individuals are David Chao, Matthew Nimetz, Li Ruigang, and Derek Palaschuk.

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