Sogou to launch on NYSE at $13 a share

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Sogou's American Depositary Shares (ADSs) priced at $13, representing the top of their previously announced range of $11 to $13, according to a company announcement. Sogou then hovered around $13.50 for most of its first day of trading, closing the day at $13.51, up about 4 percent. The figure could rise to as high as $650 million if the underwriter exercises an overallotment option.

China-based Sogou Inc's (N:) shares rose more than 10 percent in their USA market debut, as investors expect a massive base of Chinese smartphone users to help the Tencent-backed search engine company narrow the gap with market leader Baidu.

It also represents the latest in a recent flurry of NY listings by Asian companies, joining other Chinese firms as well as startups from Singapore and Taiwan in tapping US equity markets for capital this year.

Sogou brought in $597.2 million in revenue for 2016. Most surveys cite Baidu as the market leader with more than 50% share, while Sogou usually finishes third with about 15%, behind No. 2 player Qihoo 360.

Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, a major Sogou shareholder, uses Sogou Search as the default search engine in its Mobile QQ browser and qq.com site.

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Founded more than a decade ago, the company operates in an online search market dominated by Baidu Inc., which reported a $1.2 billion profit on $3.53 billion in revenue in its latest reporting quarter.

Sogou is a unit of China's Sohu.com Inc, an internet service company that includes search and gaming platforms and will remain as Sogou's controlling shareholder after the IPO.

J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and CICC acted as joint bookrunners for the IPO and as the representatives of the underwriters, and China Renaissance Securities acted as co-manager.

Sogou's net income climbed 47 percent to $66.7 million in the nine months ended September 30.

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