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Friday, Mar 75:07 PM
Friday, Mar 75:07 PM| Comment!
- Having already launched a wealth management platform for Chinese depositors, Baidu (BIDU -1.4%) is now heading a partnership that's applying for a private banking license. "Of the businesses the Internet will topple they naturally include finance," declares CEO Robin Li.
- Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have all launched wealth management products, hoping to cross-sell consumers in a country with sky-high savings rates on investment vehicles that deliver much higher returns than those provided by state-owned banks.
- Alibaba's (ABABA) Yu'e Bao platform has been especially successful, attracting 81M users who have collectively deposited nearly RMB500B ($81B).
- The efforts haven't come without a backlash from incumbents: Three state-owned banks halted interbank deposit transactions with fund manager Tianhong Asset Management after Alibaba applied to buy 51% of the firm for $193M.
- But Premier Li Keqiang, who has pushed for a slew of financial reforms, says he supports the "healthy development" of Internet banking services.
Thursday, Mar 610:13 AM
Thursday, Mar 610:13 AM| Comment!
- Sources tell PrivCo Sina (SINA +6.6%) plans to launch a Weibo IPO as early as June. That's in-line with a recent WSJ report stating a Q2 offering is planned.
- Citing peer valuations (including those given to WhatsApp and Twitter), PrivCo thinks Weibo is worth up to $8B; the FT has reported Sina (current market cap of $4.7B) is aiming for a $7B-$8B valuation.
- Such a valuation would spell a windfall for Alibaba (ABABA), which bought an 18% stake in the Chinese microblogging leader last year at a $3.26B valuation, and has an option to up its stake to 30%.
Tuesday, Mar 412:28 PM
Tuesday, Mar 412:28 PM| 3 Comments
- BofA/Merrill thinks an Alibaba (ABABA) IPO filing could happen within 1-2 months, and that Yahoo (YHOO +3.4%) shares could reach $45 in response.
- Alibaba hasn't yet provided a clear IPO timetable, or announced whether it will go public in New York or Hong Kong. A spokesman recently said Alibaba would renegotiate its deal with Yahoo if an IPO is pushed out to 2015.
- CFO Ken Goldman provided an upbeat and mostly Alibaba-free talk yesterday evening at a JMP conference (transcript). He stated Yahoo, whose display ad sales have been slumping, is "seeing some stability" in its top-line.
- Goldman also stated Yahoo's spending growth (responsible for a soft Q1 op. income/EBITDA forecast) will slow in 2014, and that it will "continue to look for efficiencies" to offset new investments.
Friday, Feb 284:59 PM
Friday, Feb 284:59 PM| 6 Comments
- An Alibaba (ABABA) spokesman has denied a report stating his company is planning a U.S. IPO, and has hired Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse to handle the offering.
- The spokesman adds Alibaba will renegotiate its deal with 24% owner Yahoo (YHOO +0.5%) in the event its IPO gets delayed beyond 2014.
- Kara Swisher previously reported Alibaba has to go public by the end of 2015 to repurchase half of Yahoo's remaining stake, per the terms of their 2012 deal. Since then, the companies have revised their deal to lower the number of shares Yahoo has to sell back at IPO time by 20%.
Friday, Feb 2810:51 AM
Friday, Feb 2810:51 AM| 7 Comments
- Chinese portal Sina reports Alibaba (ABABA) plans to go public in the U.S. rather than Hong Kong, and has hired Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse to assist with the offering.
- Yahoo (YHOO +1.5%) is trading higher. A U.S. IPO would allow Alibaba to tap into the white-hot demand shown by American capital markets for fast-growing Internet companies (whether U.S. or Chinese).
- Yahoo sold off last month after reporting Alibaba's Q3 revenue only grew 2% Q/Q (Y/Y growth was still 51%). RBC has assigned the Chinese e-commerce leader a $150B valuation.
- Previous: Alibaba signals IPO delay
Thursday, Feb 272:21 PM
Thursday, Feb 272:21 PM| Comment!
- Sources tell Marbridge Consulting Alibaba (ABABA) is talking with Ctrip (CTRP +6.9%) about a possible investment.
- Alibaba took stakes in AutoNavi and Sina's Weibo microblogging platform last year. Marbridge's track record with investment/M&A rumors is mixed, but it has made some accurate calls in recent months.
- Ctrip has rallied above $55, and Chinese online travel rivals Qunar (QUNR +3.3%) and eLong (LONG +8.3%) are also posting sizable gains.
- Separately, the WSJ reports Chinese messaging/gaming giant Tencent (TCEHY) is looking to buy a stake in top Alibaba rival JD.com, which recently filed for a $1.5B IPO.
Monday, Feb 2410:56 AM
Monday, Feb 2410:56 AM| Comment!
- The WSJ reports Sina (SINA +4.5%) is planning a $500M Q2 IPO for Weibo, and has hired hired Credit Suisse and Goldman to handle the offering.
- The paper adds Alibaba (ABABA) will likely up its stake in Weibo to 30% from its current 18% (purchased last year for $568M) in the event of an IPO. Sina currently owns 71% of Weibo, a stake Barclays thinks is worth $4.1B; the company's total market cap currently stands at $5.1B.
- Sina has made huge strides in monetizing Weibo in recent quarters. The microblogging service's ad sales rose 46% Q/Q and 125% Y/Y in Q3 to $43.7M, and its value-added service revenue rose 26% Q/Q and 121% Y/Y to $9.7M.
- At the same time, Weibo's engagement rates have been pressured by the manic growth seen for Tencent's (TCEHY) WeChat mobile messaging platform. Weibo had 60.2M daily active users at the end of Q3, +11% Q/Q. WeChat ended Q3 with 271.9M monthly active users, +15% Q/Q.
- Sina might make an official announcement in tandem with this afternoon's Q4 report.
Monday, Feb 242:58 AM
Monday, Feb 242:58 AM| 1 Comment
- Alibaba (ABABA) is planning to buy Shanda Interactive and Shanda Games' (GAME) main business for at least $3.2B, according to a source inside Shanda.
- The acquisition may include Shanda literature, Shanda games and Ku6, which was acquired by Shanda Interactive in 2009.
- In January, Shanda Games received an offer to take the business private that valued it at $1.9B from its controlling shareholder Shanda Interactive Entertainment and an affiliate of Primavera Capital.
- Shanda Interactive was taken private by founder Chen Tianqiao and Chen's family in 2011.
- Source: BrightWire
Monday, Feb 107:30 AM
Thursday, Jan 309:24 AM
Thursday, Jan 309:24 AM| 1 Comment
- While investors continue waiting for Alibaba's (ABABA) IPO filing, #2 Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com has filed for a $1.5B IPO. No symbol has been proposed yet. BofA/Merrill and UBS are underwriting. (F-1)
- JD.com claims it's "the largest online direct sales company in China in terms of transaction volume;" Alibaba, by contrast, typically acts as an eBay-like middleman. The company claims to have 35.8M active customer accounts, and a fulfillment infrastructure that includes 82 warehouses and 1,453 "delivery stations."
- Over the first nine months of 2013, JD.com had revenue of $8.04B (+71% Y/Y), and net income of $10M. Gross margin was just 9.8%. The IPO filing follows a stellar 2013 for Chinese Internet stocks.
Wednesday, Jan 2912:07 PM
Wednesday, Jan 2912:07 PM| 14 Comments
- Evercore has trimmed its Yahoo (YHOO -7.4%) PT to $39 from $40 in response to Alibaba's (ABABA) weaker-than-expected Q3 revenue. The firm has cut its Alibaba valuation by 5% to $150B, and now gives Yahoo's 24% stake a post-tax value of $22/share.
- Evercore also isn't thrilled with Yahoo's soft Q1 margin guidance and lack of formal full-year guidance, though it is pleased Yahoo's total and mobile active user bases (exc. Tumblr) respectively rose 20% and 60% in 2013 to 800M and 400M. The latter is inflated some by pre-installed iPhone apps that don't feature Yahoo branding or ads.
- Gabelli has cut shares to Hold. Though still giving Yahoo a $42/share sum-of-the-parts valuation, it doesn't see "a sufficient margin of safety" following the company's big 2012/2013 run-up.
- Cantor has upped its PT to $40 from $38, but also observes continues to lose display and search ad share, and says "the clock is now ticking" for Marissa Mayer & Co. to deliver a turnaround. SunTrust remains bullish, upping its PT to $42 from $34 and estimating Yahoo's core business is only being valued at 3x EBITDA.
- Meanwhile, TechCrunch reports Yahoo has acqui-hired enterprise app studio Tomfoolery. All four of the startup's co-founders will be joining Yahoo.
- On the CC (transcript), Mayer admitted Yahoo's mobile revenue "is still not material" relative to the rest of its business, but insisted some of its ad products (Stream ads?) will work better on mobile than PCs.
- Q4 results, guidance/Alibaba's numbers
Tuesday, Jan 284:28 PM
Tuesday, Jan 284:28 PM| 5 Comments
- Yahoo (YHOO) guides within its Q4 earnings slides for Q1 revenue (ex-TAC) of $1.06B-$1.1B, in-line with a $1.08B consensus. However, op. income is expected to fall to $130M-$170M from $224M a year earlier.
- Yahoo also reports Alibaba (ABABA) had Q3 revenue of $1.78B, +51% Y/Y (down from Q2's 61%) but only +2% Q/Q. The Chinese e-commerce giant had Q3 net income of $801M, up from $717M in Q2.
- Yahoo Japan had Q3 revenue $1.03B (-4% Y/Y, even with Q2) and net income of $307M (-11%).
- Display ad sales -6% Y/Y in Q4 to $491M after dropping 7% in Q3. Search ad sales +8% vs. +3% in Q3. Americas revenue (76% of total) flat Y/Y, EMEA -3%, Asia-Pac -10%.
- Search paid clicks +17% Y/Y in Q4 vs. +21% in Q3. Price per click -3% vs. -4%. Display ads volume +3% Y/Y vs. +1%, price per ad -7% (unchanged).
- CC at 5PM ET. Q4 results, PR.
Thursday, Jan 239:59 AM
Thursday, Jan 239:59 AM| 9 Comments
- SEC administrative law judge Cameron Elliot has barred the Chinese units of the Big-4 accounting firms - KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, and Ernst & Young - from auditing U.S.-listed companies for six months.
- Elliot declares the accounting firms "willfully" chose to withhold audit work papers from U.S. regulators for Chinese companies being investigated for accounted fraud. The firms have been worried about violating Chinese privacy laws by turning over the papers, and have argued the dispute needs to be resolved politically.
- Though the firms plan to appeal and say they can continue serving Chinese clients for now, shares of Chinese Web and solar names aren't handling the news well. Soft Chinese PMI data could be worsening matters.
- Chinese Web decliners: BIDU -2.5%. SOHU -3.2%. DANG -8.9%. SFUN -8.5%. PWRD -8.5%. QUNR -7.1%. LITB -6.5%. YY -6.1%. WUBA -6%. BITA -5.4%. EJ -5.9%. SINA -4.6%. LITB -6.5%. CTRP -5.4%. NQ -7.1%.
- Chinese solar decliners: TSL -8.7%. JASO -6.9%. SOL -6.3%. JKS -5.6%. CSIQ -5.4%. DQ -4.6%. YGE -5.6%. CSUN -6.2%. HSOL -7.8%.
- Qihoo (QIHU -4.6%) has joined the selloff in spite of a BrightWire report stating Alibaba (ABABA) has reached a deal to acquire a stake in the company. Marbridge Consulting reported two weeks ago Qihoo and Alibaba were in talks about a possible investment.
Wednesday, Jan 83:49 PM
Wednesday, Jan 83:49 PM| Comment!
- Not wanting to ruffle any of Beijing's feathers as it moves towards an IPO, Alibaba's (ABABA) Taobao will ban the sale of bitcoins (BITCN), effective January 14.
- The Chinese government, of course, cracked down on the virtual currency about one month ago, with the PBOC barring financial institutions from handling bitcoin transactions.
Wednesday, Jan 811:54 AM
Wednesday, Jan 811:54 AM| Comment!
- Alibaba (ABABA), whose ambitions have been steadily expanding beyond e-commerce, plans to launch a mobile gaming platform for 3rd-party titles.
- The service will be aimed squarely at Chinese online/mobile gaming leader Tencent (TCEHY), and will give developers a hefty 70% cut. Alibaba also plans to integrate the service with its Laiwang messaging app (competes with Tencent's dominant WeChat) and the mobile app for its Taobao e-commerce platform.
- In addition to Tencent, Alibaba will be taking on a slew of other mobile game distributors, including NQ Mobile's (NQ +1.7%) FL Mobile unit.
- Chinese game developer Perfect World (PWRD +10.1%) has skyrocketed in morning trading. Peers Changyou (CYOU +4.1%) and NetEase (NTES +3.5%) are also up sharply.
- Also: Alibaba's Alipay online payments unit has struck a deal with Sina (SINA +1.5%) to allow Weibo users to make online and offline payments via Alipay. Sina investors have been expecting the company's partnership with Alibaba (bought an 18% stake last year) to yield service launches that would improve Weibo monetization.
Wednesday, Jan 810:08 AM
Wednesday, Jan 810:08 AM| 1 Comment
- "Industry insiders" tell Marbridge Consulting Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (ABABA) is talking with Qihoo (QIHU +6.6%) regarding a possible investment in the search/browser/security software provider. The talks are said to have been "underway for a significant period of time."
- Though its track record isn't perfect, Marbridge has provided some accurate scoops in the past. Moreover, Alibaba has already made sizable investments in Sina and AutoNavi. The investments are part of the company's efforts to expand its Web empire, and thereby better compete with messaging/gaming leader Tencent and search king/Qihoo rival Baidu.
- However, China's 86Research thinks the odds of an Alibaba investment in Qihoo remain low.