Baidu’s iQiyi is targeting a US initial public offering as soon as in 2018 that could value China’s most popular Netflix-style streaming video service at more than $8 billion, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The company controlled by search giant Baidu is about to kick off negotiations with banks and deal arrangers and is shooting for a valuation of as much as $10 billion, the people said. Baidu wants to continue holding a controlling stake in iQiyi upon the IPO via dual-class shares. The IPO process however is in its early stages and the final valuation could change. IQiyi, the only Chinese service that licenses shows from Netflix, needs to build up its war chest as it battles rival platforms run by Alibaba and Tencent. Baidu, which is also investing heavily in artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, needs to buy and create more content to sustain its lead among online video platforms, based on time spent.
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