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UPDATE 2-Software maker UiPath aims for nearly $26 bln valuation in U.S. IPO

(Adds IPO details, background)

April 12 (Reuters) - Startup UiPath is targeting a valuation of nearly $26 billion in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO), as demand soars for its robotic process automation services from companies shifting to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company plans to sell 6.8 million shares, while existing shareholders will sell an additional 14.5 million shares as part of the offering, a regulatory filing on Monday showed bit.ly/3g2Y8oQ.

The offering will be priced at between $43 and $50 per share, raising about $1.06 billion at the top end of the range.

New York-based UiPath, the latest tech firm seeking to tap into the red-hot U.S. IPO market, was valued at $35 billion during a funding round earlier this year.

The company uses artificial intelligence and low-code tools to help large corporations and government agencies automate repetitive and routine tasks in areas such as accounting and human resources, a service that has gained popularity during the pandemic.

Founded in 2005 as a 10-people team based in Bucharest, Romania, by former Microsoft executive Daniel Dines and Marius Tirca, revenue surged during the health crisis, a filing last month revealed.

Automation platforms had an addressable market of about $65 billion, a Bain & Co report estimated in March, as companies step up efforts to simplify operations and cut costs.

UiPath’s net losses narrowed significantly to $92.4 million in the year ended Jan. 31, 2021, from $519.9 million a year earlier, as it became cash flow positive.

UiPath, with investors including Accel, Coatue, Dragoneer, IVP and Sequoia, had nearly 8,000 customers at the end of January. It competes with UK-based Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere.

It will list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PATH”. Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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