Sogou's Shares Rise In IPO

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The stock, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SOGO, was priced at the top of its $11-$13 range for its 45 million American depositary shares (ADS).

The shares initially rose as much as 13% when the stock began trading on Thursday in NY, but later gave back most of the gains and closed a modest 4% higher at $13.50.

The total IPO size would be $585 million, assuming the underwriters do not exercise their over-allotment option. Calling the IPO a "milestone", he hopes that a U.S. IPO will help with hiring and make it easier to collaborate with U.S. tech companies.

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Proceeds from the offering will be used for research and development and marketing purposes, Sogou said in its IPO filing. Most surveys cite Baidu as the market leader with more than 50% share, while Sogou usually finishes third with about 15%, behind No. 2 player Qihoo 360. The company's profit, excluding extraordinary items, fell 44% previous year to $56 million, as its revenue grew 12% to $660 million.

Sogou is a unit of China's Sohu.com Inc, an internet service company that includes search and gaming platforms and will remain as Sogou's controlling shareholder after the IPO.

Backed by Tencent Holdings, Sougou has benefited from being the default search engine on various Tencent products that provide general search offerings, such as the Mobile QQ Browser, qq.com, WeChat and the PC Web directories daohang.qq.com and hao.qq.com.

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Notably, given potential news of a Snap Inc. takeover, Sogou's largest shareholder is Tencent Holdings Ltd., the same company that was disclosed yesterday to have taken a 12 percent stake in the Snapchat messaging app maker.

Sogou is the latest in a string of private Chinese internet companies to make offshore listings over the last two months.

JP Morgan Securities, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs (Asia), China International Capital Corp.

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Sogou's net income climbed 47 percent to $66.7 million in the nine months ended September 30.

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