MILAN — Luckin, the ambitious Chinese startup rolling out thousands of stores to take on Starbucks Corp., is working with three banks, including Credit Suisse, to launch a US initial public offering (Ipo) in 2019, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The deal, which could take place as soon as the second quarter, according to the people. Luckin could add more banks at a later stage, said the same source, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
The IPO could raise as much as $3 billion. Beijing-based Luckin, which officially launched its business only in January last year and is still loss-making, chose New York for the listing as Hong Kong generally requires IPO applicants to have a track record of three financial years.
Luckin is spending heavily to roll out 2,500 additional stores this year, after the company opened about 2,000 outlets in 2018, its first year of operation. Luckin’s outlets are cashless and designed for fast pick-up as well as delivery.
In December, the company raised $200 million in its latest funding round from investors including GIC and investment bank China International Capital, increasing its valuation to $2.2bn.
The firm recorded a loss of $120m last year, which chief marketing officer Yang Fei said in January was in line with expectations as it pushed to expand.