Is US$2.4 Billion Enough to Redeem Cash-Strapped LeEco?

New financing comes at a vital time for the company, after CEO Jia Yueting confirmed in November that LeEco is facing a major cash shortage due to overly aggressive expansion plans.


Chinese internet company LeEco announced Sunday that it landed RMB 16.8 billion (US$2.4 billion) in fresh funding led by China real estate titan Sunac China Holdings Ltd. Sunac will become the company’s second-largest shareholder after the deal.

The company disclosed that Sunac will contribute 15 billion RMB of the total funding broken into three parts:

  • RMB 6.04 billion for 8.61 percent of the company’s listed arm Leshi Internet from founder and CEO Jia Yueting
  • RMB 7.95 billion  for 15 percent of Leshi Zhixin, the company’s television subsidiary, through transfer existing shares and expansion of share capital
  • RMB 1.05 billion for 33.5 percent of Le Vision Pictures, LeEco’s film production unit
  • Hua Insurance and Leran Investment, a state-backed venture capital firm, were also part of the deal, injecting RMB 400 million and RMB1.43 billion in the company, respectively.

The financing comes at a vital timing for the company, which has experienced two troubled months after Jia confirmed in November that it’s facing a major cash shortage due to overly aggressive expansion plans.

Jia, the 43-year-old tech mogul, has built his reputation as a capital-raising machine in China’s internet industry. Local media Yicai reported that the company has already raked in a whopping RMB 80 billion funding as of November 2016, bankrolling a variety of businesses from smartphone, television, film production to cloud services.

Will the new funding solve the cash squeeze?

This hefty round would definitely ease the capital pressures the company has faced and to rebuild confidence in its investors, but is it big enough to fill in LeEco’s funding gap to the fullest? Jia’s answer for this question is affirmative.

“Apart from LeEco’s electric car business, the 16.8 billion RMB funding is well enough to address all our needs to drive a smooth transition of the LeEco system strategy from the first stage to stage two,” said Jia.

The transition would mark a shift from taking an all-out approach into every business on a shared loop ecosystem on the global level to achieving true eco chemistry between the seven sub-ecosystems.

In the second stage, creating revenues will be a key goal for the listed as well as the unlisted entities. China, the U.S., and India will be the primary focus of the company, said Jia in an internal letter released last November.

LeSEE launches A round financing

LeEco’s electric car division, SEE Plan (Super Electric Ecosystem Plan) also the biggest cash-burner, is not included in the current financing round, according to the funding plan. Jia said last week that they could put their cars into production with a further RMB 10 billion round, adding that more funding is still needed since the project is larger in scale.

LeSEE already raised $1.08 billion round in September last year from investors include Yingda Capital Management, China Communication Construction Ltd., and China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp, among others.

Together with the funding news, Jia announced the launch of its funding plan for LeSEE. “We are really looking forward that more investors with visions could join the LeSEE ecosystem. Some progress has been made recently and hopefully we could share more good news within one month,” he said.

— This article originally appeared on TechNode.