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Tencent's online music unit files for U.S. listing

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By Reuters
Tencent's online music unit files for U.S. listing
FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at a booth of Tencent Music Entertainment at the Beijing Music and Life Show in Beijing, China, May 7, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo   -   Copyright  China Stringer Network(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Tencent Music Entertainment Group on Tuesday formally filed with regulators to list in the United States, under the symbol “TME”, in what could be the biggest U.S. IPO by a Chinese company.

The IPO of the music arm of Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings <0700.HK> comes as the global online music industry gets back on track with more listeners streaming music through smartphone apps, even as companies battle piracy and try to sign up more paying customers.

Tencent Music includes Spotify-like digital streaming apps QQ Music, Kugou and karaoke app WeSing, and is seeking a valuation of about $25 billion, according to Thomson Reuters IFR.

The company set a placeholder amount of $1 billion to indicate the size of the IPO.

The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different.

Market leader Spotify Technology SA <SPOT.N> debuted in April and its shares rose nearly 13 percent on the first trading day.

Tencent Music’s biggest shareholders include its parent Tencent <0700.HK>, which owns 58.1 percent, and Spotify, which owns 9.1 percent in the company.

Chinese companies have already raised $5.9 billion from listing in the U.S. so far this year – a record for any year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Depending on its eventual pricing, Tencent Music could be the biggest this year, ahead of the $2.4 billion raised by video streaming service provider iQIYI <IQ.O> in March.

In its regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tencent Music reported a profit of $263 million on a revenue of $1.30 billion for six months ended June 30.

Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs (Asia), JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are some of the lead underwriters for the public offer.

The U.S. listing is a blow to Hong Kong’s ambitions of getting more tech companies onto the city’s bourse by loosening listing regulations, but the new rules do not yet allow corporate entities to benefit from weighted voting rights.

(Reporting By Aparajita Saxena and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)