Wall Street Arrange Big Loans For China’s Unicorns
|Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon
Photograph by Fortune Most Powerful Women
Several investment banks — like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — are known to have arranged big loans for U.S. tech unicorns. Companies that have taken on such big loans include the likes of Uber, Opendoor, WeWork, Dropbox, SpaceX, SoFi and Affirm to name a few. But recently, China’s Bytedance got a $1.34 billion loan from a group dominated by Wall Street banks, pointing to a new area of interest from Wall Street lenders; Chinese companies.
China’s tech unicorns are not conventionally known for taking on big loans, but this may be changing, with a Bloomberg piece stating that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are arranging an up to $1 billion debt facility for Chinese real estate brokerage Beike Zhaofang, not too long after the brokerage secured $800 million in funding. Bloomberg also says Guazi — fresh off $1.5 billion in funding from Softbank earlier this year — is in talks with banks for a credit facility of up to $400 million.
|CEO of China for Morgan Stanley, Wei Christianson.
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With historically low borrowing costs, it’s not surprising that China’s unicorns could be looking to tap into this source. According to Bloomberg, Beike has asked banks for an interest margin of 210 basis points (2.1%) for its loan, while Bytdedance secured its at an interest margin of 280 basis points (2.8%).
Arranging loans for these companies could lead to more lucrative deals like IPOs, which earn substantial profits for investment banks. But that can’t be guaranteed as China’s trade war with the U.S. spreads to the tech sector, sparking investor concerns over big valuations and strained relationships between U.S. and Chinese business entities.
Investor concerns over overstretched valuations are also not surprising, with both Lyft and Uber currently trading below their IPO prices.