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[YesAuto News] Recently, according to foreign media citing sources familiar with the matter, Japan's Softbank Group is negotiating with Weilai Automobile, hoping to purchase a considerable amount of shares in the latter's upcoming IPO (initial public offering).

According to people familiar with the matter, SoftBank has a vision fund of nearly 100 billion U.S. dollars, or purchases about 200 million U.S. dollars in stocks during Weilai's IPO, and Weilai hopes to raise 2 to 3 billion U.S. dollars from stock sales. At present, the plan is still under discussion, and there may be variables. Both Softbank and Weilai Automobile declined to comment on this.

Earlier reports showed that NIO has hired eight banks, including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, to prepare for its planned listing in the United States this year. If the financing reaches US$2 billion, Weilai will become the largest Chinese company in the US stock IPO after Alibaba.

Since 2015, Li Bin, Li Xiang, Liu Qiangdong, Ma Huateng, Lei Jun, and Zhang Lei have prepared a total of 100 million yuan of funds to invest in the first round of financing for Weilai Automobile, and Weilai has successively obtained 5 rounds of financing. Up to now, NIO has received more than 2 billion US dollars in financing. However, some media recently obtained internal documents from Weilai, saying that Weilai Automobile is expected to lose 5.1 billion yuan this year, and the delivery rhythm of its first commercially available model ES8 has also been slightly delayed. In the face of the auto industry with a large initial investment and a long return period, listing may be a choice that NIO has to consider.

On the other hand, SoftBank has been investing in the automotive supply chain through its subsidiaries and funds, but it has never directly invested in automotive companies. At present, Softbank holds shares in a number of companies including a Canadian lithium mine, Arm Holdings chip company, Uber and Didi Chuxing, etc., and it has invested in Weilai Automobile or its layout in the vehicle field. (Source: Wall Street Journal; Compilation/Car Home Zhang Lianyi)