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Shanda Seeks $800 Million in U.S. IPO

Chinese technology company Shanda Interactive Entertainment is planning to spin off its video game unit and raise as much as $800 million in a initial public offering in the United States, looking to follow in the footsteps of rival Sohu.com.

The unit, Shanda Games Ltd, which has produced popular Chinese video games such as The World of Legend, and AION, a multi-player online role playing game launched in April, plans to list shares on Nasdaq, according to a prospectus filed on Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shanda Games runs a China-wide secure network to host hundreds of thousands of gamers that play simultaneously.

The filing comes a few months after Chinese Internet portal Sohu.com unit took its own gaming unit, Changyou.com, public in a $138 million IPO on Nasdaq in April.

Changyou.com shares are 138.3 percent above their IPO price, making the deal the strongest performing IPO of 2009.

The prospectus did not indicate when the IPO might be priced or whether it would include shares in addition to those being sold by Shanda.

As of Aug. 31, 2009, Shanda Games operated 18 multiplayer role playing games and 11 advanced casual games, with 16 more role playing games and eight advanced
casual games in its development pipeline.

Shanda Games had about 9.7 million active paying accounts for the three-month period ended June 30, 2009, according to its prospectus.

Shanda Games had revenues of $321.9 million for the six months ended June 30, 2009, with net income of $99.6 million, according to the filing.

Shanda Games has applied to list its American depositary shares on Nasdaq under the symbol "GAME."

The IPO's lead underwriters will be Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C. and J.P. Morgan.

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