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Chinese microblogging service Weibo plans public offering

SHANGHAI — Sina Corp., one of China’s biggest Internet portals, is preparing an initial public offering in the United States for Weibo, its Twitter-like microblogging service, according to people close to the matter.

The offering, which has not been formally announced, could raise up to $500 million later this year. Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse have been selected to underwrite the offering, according to the people.

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Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse declined to comment Monday, and a Sina representative could not be reached for comment.

Over the last two years, China’s big three Internet companies — Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent — have spent several billion dollars acquiring Chinese startups and international online game companies.

Later this year, two of China’s biggest e-commerce companies, Alibaba and, are expected to go public in the United States. The Alibaba offering, which has not been completed, could be the biggest stock offering in history, valuing the company at more than $100 billion.

Last year, Alibaba paid $586 million to buy an 18 percent stake in Sina Weibo, valuing the company at $3.3 billion. The other 71 percent stake is held by Sina. Some analysts project that Sina’s Weibo unit could be worth $5 billion, even more than its parent, which is listed on the Nasdaq.

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