Chinese internet giant Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU; HKEX: 9888) has raised US$1 billion for its environment, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and corporate purposes, signaling Baidu’s return to the markets since October 2020 amid Beijing’s tightening of regulations on big tech.
The public offering consists of $300 million of 1.625% notes due 2027 and $700 million of 2.375% notes due 2031.
The notes have been registered under the US Securities Act of 1933 and are expected to be listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.
The company expects to receive net proceeds from the offering of approximately $0.99 billion, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses.
Baidu said in a statement that it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including repayment of certain existing indebtedness.
In addition, it plans to use an equivalent amount of the net proceeds to finance or refinance, in whole or in part, one or more of its new or existing eligible projects, pursuant to its sustainable finance framework with hopes of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
The joint bookrunners of the offering are Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., BofA Securities, Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities Limited. The co-manager of the offering is BOCOM International Securities Limited.
Last month, mobile giant Xiaomi Best Time International also issues $800 million 2.875% Senior Bonds due 2031 and the $400 million 4.100% Senior Green Bonds due 2051.
China’s government and market regulators have been cracking down on big tech business of the likes of Baidu, Xiaomi, JD.com, Alibaba, ByteDance and Tencent.
The unprecedented clampdown on its own tech sector began last November with the suspension of Ant Group’s IPO, after its majority controller, Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, criticised China’s state-dominated banking system.
Since then, antitrust probes have taken place conducted mostly by the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR), new data security laws overseen by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), and a tightening on capital expansions have turned tables upside down across Chinese tech firms.