China’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) firm SenseTime is to be placed on a US investment blacklist before the company’s initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong is finalized, reports Reuters. The startup was unaware it could be added to a US blacklist, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter, adding the news also caught bankers working on the $767 million deal by surprise.
A call was under way late on Thursday in Hong Kong hours between the company and its advisers to discuss the implications of the ban on its IPO, the sources said, declining to be identified as the information was not yet public. SenseTime told Reuters it had no immediate comment on the blacklisting report, and did not respond to questions about the future of the IPO.
The company was planning to sell 1.5 billion shares within a price range of HK$3.85 ($0.49) to HK$3.99 ($0.51) each in the IPO. It is due to set the final price and allocate shares to institutional investors on Friday, according to the firm’s filings.