China’s used car marketplace Uxin to raise $230M via convertible notes

Uxin, a Chinese second-hand car dealer with Leonardo DiCaprio as its latest brand ambassador, is tipped to get a bag of new funding less than a year after it raised $225 million from its public offering on the Nasdaq.

The company announced on Wednesday that it’s selling $230 million worth of convertible notes to 58.com — China’s answer to Craigslist, Warburg Pincus, TPG and other investors. The notes, due in June, convert to Uxin’s Class A ordinary shares at a price of $1.03 per share or $3.09 per ADS. Upon closing the deal, each of 58.com, Warburg Pincus and TPG will obtain the right to nominate one board director to Uxin.

Uxin was trading at $2.46 at the end of Tuesday, a 74 percent decline from its recent peak in January. Its stock tanked in April after short-seller J Capital Research broadsided it over alleged frauds. Uxin denied the accusations, saying they were “false and misleading.”

The Chinese company is in a bruising fight with well-backed rivals including Chehaoduo, which pocketed $1.5 billion from Softbank’s Vision Fund in February, and Renrenche, which raised $300 million led by Goldman Sachs a year earlier.

As part of the transaction, 58.com, a 14-year-old Chinese internet firm that went public in New York six years ago, will come into a strategic partnership with Uxin in areas such as user traffic and inventory acquisition, used-car inspection, big data analysis and SaaS, says Uxin in a statement. The move follows Uxin’s agreement with Alibaba in December to set up a used car section on the ecommerce giant’s Taobao marketplace.

There are increasing synergies between 58.com and Uxin as both are exploring opportunities outside the crowded markets of China’s megacities. 58.com hit a notable milestone in 2018 after it racked up 100 million new users for its classifieds services customized for small-town populations, which include everything from job listings to trading cars.

In the same vein, Uxin has churned out reports that show demand for used cars coming from China’s lower-tier cities has surged in recent years. The boom is in part a result of a new Chinese policy that allows consumers to buy second-hand cars from a different province, enriching the variety of car options for rural residents.

“We see enormous growth potential in China’s used car market and believe that the volume of used-car transactions will overtake that of new cars in the years ahead,” said Michael Yao, chairman and chief executive officer of 58.com, which runs its own online used car business.

The deal will allow 58 Used Car to “benefit from Uxin’s tremendous offline transaction-related expertise,” added Yao, referring to Uxin’s mix of digital and physical sales channels. “By jointly integrating our online and offline services, we will be ideally positioned to significantly enhance the user experience for purchasing used cars and drive greater efficiency in this growing market.”

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