Tue, Jun. 30, 1:44 PM
- Baidu (BIDU +0.1%) plans to spend RMB20B ($3.22B) over the next 3 years in growing its online-to-offline (O2O) service offerings, including its Nuomi group-buying/daily deals platform. CEO Robin Li: "Right now Baidu has over fifty billion [yuan] in cash on its books ... We're going to take 20 billion of that and do Nuomi right."
- In addition to Nuomi, Baidu's O2O efforts cover services such as food delivery and movie ticket bookings; it has also taken a stake in Uber. The Chinese search giant is counting its huge mobile user and local advertiser bases to give it an edge. Alibaba has also shown a strong interest in O2O services.
- The spending commitment comes shortly after Baidu priced a $1.25B debt offering.
- See also: O2O Can Be Baidu's Next Growth Driver
Thu, Jun. 25, 5:35 PM
Tue, Jun. 23, 11:05 PM
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is selling $750M worth of 3% notes due 2020, and $500M worth of 4.125% notes due 2025.
- Net proceeds are expected to total $1.24B. The offering stands to raise Baidu's debt balance to ~$1.9B, and its cash/short-term investment balance to ~$10.9B.
- Previously: Baidu plans to sell 5-year and 10-year debt
Tue, Jun. 23, 8:39 AM
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) plans a debt offering of 5-year and 10-year dollar-denominated notes The offering's size remains unknown for now. Yields are expected to be 160bps and 200bps above those of comparable Treasurys. The company only says proceeds will be used for "general corporate purposes."
- Moody's has given the offering, which comes a year after Baidu sold $1B worth of 5-year debt, an A3 (upper medium grade) rating. The Chinese search giant had $9.36B in cash/short-term investments at the end of Q1, and over $650M in debt.
- Shares are up fractionally premarket.
Thu, Jun. 18, 12:02 PM
- Nokia (NOK +1.5%) is "leaning toward" selling its HERE mapping/navigation software unit to a consortium featuring HERE clients BMW, Audi, and Daimler, Bloomberg reports. However, the automakers reportedly "may hesitate to pay the as much as $4 billion being sought for the unit."
- Final bids are said to be due this week. One source states Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), which previously teamed with UBER and P-E firm Apax, may join the automakers' bid. Apax and other P-E firms have dropped out of the bidding.
- Last month, the NYT reported Uber had bid up to $3B for HERE, and Reuters reported the automakers' bid was backed by P-E firm General Atlantic.
Sun, Jun. 14, 11:19 AM
- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) is planning to build China's version of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and HBO (NYSE:TWX) via a new service called Tmall Box Office.
- "We want to create a whole new family entertainment experience," Alibaba's Liu Chunning told reporters in Shanghai.
- TBO will launch in about two months, with content bought from China and other countries, as well as in-house productions.
- Related tickers: Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Sohu (NASDAQ:SOHU)
Thu, Jun. 11, 3:15 PM
- BMW (OTCPK:BAMXY) and Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) plan to start road testing a self-driving car the two companies are developing together later this year.
- The partners aim to create a prototype that can be taken out on highways in Beijing and Shanghai.
- Some automobile industry watchers think self-driving cars will be used for commercial purposes (delivery, shuttles, taxis) before being produced for the mass-market segment.
- Google is now building its own self-driving protoypes after relying on Lexus and Toyota models previously.
Mon, Jun. 1, 7:35 PM
- "On May 8, 2015, we received an unsolicited offer from Ctrip.com International (NASDAQ:CTRP), Ltd., or Ctrip, to acquire all of our outstanding shares," says Qunar (NASDAQ:QUNR) in its Q1 report. "After careful consideration of such offer, we declined to pursue it in a letter response dated June 1, 2015 ... we remain open to engaging in further discussions with Ctrip as well as with other strategic players in our sector."
- Bloomberg reported of Ctrip/Qunar merger talks back in 2014; antitrust approval of a deal could prove difficult, given the companies' combined Chinese online travel share. Since the time of Ctrip's offer, Ctrip has struck a deal to buy a 37.6% stake in smaller rival eLong, and has received a new $250M investment from Priceline.
- Also: Effective today, Qunar has terminated its Zhixin cooperation agreement with parent Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), through which Qunar ran an online travel marketplace for which Baidu promised to drive a guaranteed amount of traffic. SA author John Zhang has argued the deal was unfair to Qunar, noting (among other things) Baidu gets 76% of all Zhixin revenue beyond a "benchmark" level, and that Qunar has been paying Baidu huge sums for marketing services.
- Baidu has been given (and has exercised) warrants for 11.45M Qunar Class B shares (equal to 3.82M ADS, current value of $180M) for the traffic it drove. At the same time, Baidu is paying Qunar an RMB207M ($33.4M) termination fee.
- Meanwhile, Qunar has entered into a deal with Baidu (expires in May 2016, subject to renewal) through which "Baidu has agreed to grant Qunar an exclusive right to integrate hotel information and products into the PC and mobile app versions of Baidu Maps."
- On an RMB basis, Qunar is guiding for 105%-110% Y/Y Q2 revenue growth, a faster clip than Q1's 100%. The consensus is for 75.9% dollar-based growth.
- QUNR +2.3% AH to $47.05.
Mon, May 18, 3:10 PM
- Bloomberg reports Baidu (BIDU -0.8%) is teaming with top ride-sharing platform Uber and P-E firm Apax Partners to jointly bid for Nokia's (NOK +0.7%) HERE mapping/navigation software unit. Sources state the business could fetch as much as $4B.
- A rival group consisting of Chinese messaging/gaming giant Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY), Chinese mapping firm/Tencent partner NavInfo, and Swedish P-E firm EQT Partners is also reportedly bidding. A group of German automakers (mentioned in past reports) and a trio of P-E firms are reportedly interested as well, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has offered to buy a minority stake.
- The next round of bids are reportedly due in 2 weeks. Baidu is said to be partnering with Uber to "avoid regulatory scrutiny." The NYT previously reported Uber has bid up to $3B for HERE, which has a dominant position in the in-car automotive market.
- Separately, Baidu has announced a "strategic investment" in content recommendation platform Taboola - readers may be familiar with the "Recommend for you" article boxes Taboola provides at the bottom of articles on partner sites. The WSJ reports Baidu, which plans to bring Taboola's platform to China, invested $20M-$30M.
Thu, May 14, 6:11 PM
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has fired 8 execs, including senior sales/marketing execs, following the recent launch of a bribery probe.
- An internal memo picked up by Reuters indicates the execs were generally accused of "criminal behavior" and breaking with "company morality," but doesn't give details. The memo also states legal authorities have begun investigations, and that 5 of the execs have been detained.
- Reuters notes Baidu has 180+ employees at the director level, and (like other major Chinese tech companies) entire departments focused on uncovering misbehavior.
Tue, May 12, 12:43 AM
- Following local media reports stating three department heads are being probed, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) confirms it has launched an internal anti-corruption investigation.
- No word on which execs or departments are being probed. Baidu reportedly fired 5 execs for bribery and illicit appropriation last November, and dismissed 4 employees for bribery in Aug. 2012.
- The latest probe comes amid the backdrop of a high-profile anti-corruption campaign by President Xi Jinping.
Thu, May 7, 5:51 PM
- The NYT reports top ride-sharing platform Uber has bid "as much as $3 billion" for Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) HERE mapping/navigation software unit, thereby hoping to top a rival bid being prepped by German automakers and Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), and one submitted by a P-E firm.
- Bloomberg previously reported Uber and the automakers were among the firms to show interest in the business after Nokia began shopping it.
- Uber (valued at over $40B in a 2014 funding round) reportedly believes HERE and its proprietary data could further its efforts to provide logistics and ride-sharing services that require advanced geospatial mapping data - the company's apps currently rely on Google Maps. HERE's ~80% share of the in-car navigation system market could also be of interest.
- NOK +1.2% AH to $6.80.
- Earlier: Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent rally following Alcatel's earnings
Tue, May 5, 9:30 AM
- Believing mobile monetization growth is set to slow and that company is facing "intense competition," JPMorgan has downgraded Baidu to Neutral in the wake of last week's mixed Q1 results and subdued Q2 guidance, and cut its target by $25 to $215.
- JPMorgan estimates Baidu's mobile ad monetization rate is now at 80%-90% of PC level, and that mobile monetization growth will be near PC levels going forward. It doubts revenue growth will "surprise on the upside" until online-to-offline (O2O) initiatives or unique mobile products take off, and notes Alibaba and Tencent have their own O2O ambitions.
- BIDU -1.2% premarket to $201.30. Yesterday, T.H. Capital upgraded Baidu to Buy, arguing mobile/local search ad initiatives (including Baidu's efforts to let advertisers target based on geography) will act as a growth driver.
- Last week: Baidu falls post-earnings; bulls pleased with mobile, offline growth
Thu, Apr. 30, 1:27 PM
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has made fresh 2015 lows after missing Q1 revenue estimates (while beating on EPS) and providing slightly soft Q2 sales guidance. Shares are still well above a 52-week low of $148.44.
- The decline comes even as many on the sell-side defend Baidu, often while highlighting its strong mobile growth. Pac Crest sees Baidu getting over 60% of its revenue from mobile by year's end, up from Q1's 50% and Q4's 42%. It also thinks Baidu's "spending on online-to-offline [services] is starting to bear fruit, with progress in food delivery, movie ticketing and Baidu Wallet, which saw 26 million connected active users." Credit Suisse is also pleased with the online-to-offline growth, as well as better-than-expected Q1 margins.
- On the CC (transcript), CEO Robin Li stated Baidu's Q1 mobile search monthly active users (MAUs) totaled 600M, up from Q4's 540M, and that mobile maps MAUs reached 270M. He also mentioned Baidu is looking to grow its local/mobile search ad sales by allowing advertisers to bid on ads aimed at users in one of 300 Chinese cities.
Wed, Apr. 29, 5:07 PM
- In addition to missing Q1 revenue estimates (while beating on EPS), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is guiding for Q2 revenue of RMB16.365B-RMB16.75B (+36.5%-37.5% Y/Y and equal to $2.64B-$2.7B), slightly below an RMB16.65B consensus at the midpoint.
- On the bright side, mobile was 50% of Q1 revenue, up sharply from Q4's 42% and Q3's 36%. CEO Robin Li: "Baidu is redefining the search box by building an ecosystem to connect people with services and drive closed loop transactions ... we plan to fully exploit the huge growth potential ahead -- in mobile marketing, online to offline, and key select verticals such as healthcare, education and financial services..."
- Q1 online ad customers totaled 524K, nearly flat Q/Q and up 17.5% Y/Y. Revenue per online ad customer was $3,839, down 9.8% Q/Q (seasonality played a role) and up 13.9% Y/Y.
- Traffic acquisition cost growth appears to have slowed: TAC was 13.5% of revenue vs. 13.4% in Q4 and 12.4% a year ago. Also lifting EPS: SG&A spend fell 16.1% Q/Q to $477M, presumably due to lower promotional spend for Baidu products/services. On a Y/Y basis, SG&A spend rose 47.2% Y/Y (Q4 growth was 89.2%). R&D spend rose 79.1% Y/Y to $368.8M, up from Q4's 69% clip.
- BIDU -1.5% AH to $215.65.
- Q1 results, PR
Wed, Apr. 29, 4:39 PM
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