Nov. 12, 2014, 8:04 AM
- Xiaomi (now China's biggest smartphone vendor and #3 worldwide) and Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) are each investing $300M in Baidu's iQiyi video site, China Business Daily reports.
- Meanwhile, Xiaomi has announced it's taking a stake in major iQiyi rival Youku (NYSE:YOKU) by acquiring shares on the open market. Xiaomi will also license content from Youku, and the companies will "jointly invest in the production and distribution of online video content and movies."
- The news comes a week after Xiaomi announced it's investing $1B to expand its Web video content library. The company claims 85M active users for its MIUI Android UI (pre-installed on its phones). Baidu/iQyi recently announced it would have distribution rights to 1K+ U.S. movies next year.
- Baidu, Youku, SOHU, and Tencent have been battling fiercely in a Chinese Web video market that features no dominant YouTube-like player for user-generated/short-form content, nor any dominant Netflix-like player for TV shows and movies. The market has seen huge mobile video growth: Mobile made up over 60% of Youku's Q2 video views.
- YOKU +3.6% premarket.
Nov. 4, 2014, 1:04 PM
- China's DoNews reports (citing an internal e-mail) Sohu (SOHU -1%) has reached a deal to acquire Renren's (RENN) 56.com video site, and plans to merge it with Sohu Video. Details will reportedly be provided next week.
- A July report stating Renren is selling 56.com Chinese video site Mango TV didn't pan out. However, Renren (having a rough time over the last two years) has unloaded its Nuomi daily deals site to Baidu, and has generally been looking to cut costs.
- Acquiring 56.com would give Sohu more scale as it squares off against Baidu, Youku, and Tencent in a very competitive Chinese online/mobile video market. Shares are off slightly after rallying yesterday (along with those of gaming unit Changyou) post-earnings.
Apr. 28, 2014, 10:17 AM
- Sohu (SOHU -4.8%) missed Q1 estimates and provided light Q2 guidance. Meanwhile, as part of a recent crackdown, the Chinese government has pulled The Big Bang Theory and other popular U.S. shows from sites such as Sohu.com, Youku.com (YOKU -4.4%), Baidu's (BIDU -5%) iQiyi, and Tencent Video (TCEHY -2.8%). Time observes The Big Bang Theory has produced 1.3B video views since launching on Sohu TV in '09.
- The news is overshadowing a $1.22B investment in Youku by Alibaba (ABABA) and an affiliated P-E firm, and a WSJ report stating Alibaba is forming a mobile search JV with leading mobile browser firm UCWeb (once targeted by Baidu).
- The deals are the latest in a long line of investments and partnerships struck by Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, as each firm tries to build a Web/mobile empire covering over a dozen valuable markets.
- Is Qihoo (QIHU -0.8%) next in line to make a deal? With a $21.6B market cap, the security app/browser/search provider and Baidu rival is the biggest Chinese Internet company to remain independent of the big-3. Qihoo was reported in January to be talking with Alibaba.
- Other decliners: NQ -6.5%. VIPS -5.2%. WB -4.2%. WBAI -3%. LONG -4.5%. QUNR -2.4%.
Sep. 16, 2013, 11:44 AM
- Though Tencent's (TCEHY.PK, TCTZF.PK) acquisition of a 36.5% stake in Sohu's (SOHU +6.9%) Sogou search unit stands to make Sogou a greater threat to Baidu (BIDU +2%), given Tencent's plans to promote Sogou throughout its messaging/gaming empire, Baidu investors appear relieved Qihoo, which was in talks with Sohu, didn't end up reaching a deal.
- Research firm CNZZ recently estimated Qihoo now has over 15% of the Chinese search market, and the company itself recently pegged its share at 20%. Acquiring Sogou (estimated 8.8% share) would've given Qihoo additional scale and resources as it challenges Baidu's dominant position.
- Meanwhile, Tencent rose 2.5% in Hong Kong overnight, before the Sogou deal was announced. The company's market cap has topped $100B.
- Chinese Web giants Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba are increasingly stepping on each others' toes. While Tencent and Alibaba have been relying on partnerships/minority investments to grow their reach, Baidu has been more interested in acquisitions and controlling stakes.
Jul. 29, 2013, 8:31 AM
- Shanda Games (GAME) -7% premarket after agreeing to acquire affiliates providing user and payment platform services from its parent company Shanda Interactive Entertainment for a combined $811.5M.
- GAME says the moves will strengthen its mobile strategy.
- Other players in Chinese gaming: SOHU, RENN, NTES, PWRD, GA.
Jul. 19, 2013, 2:25 PMSohu (SOHU +0.9%) responds to comments from a Qihoo (QIHU +1.6%) exec about M&A talks regarding Sohu's Sogou search unit by stating it "has been, and continues to be, in preliminary discussions with several potential strategic investors and partners." Sohu adds its Sogou options include both the sale of a minority stake, and "a more comprehensive strategic combination." Qihoo has issued a PR in which it says "no agreement has been reached with respect to a significant transaction," but provides little color beyond that. | Comment!
Jul. 19, 2013, 9:38 AMQihu (QIHU -1.1%) says it's in talks to buy Sohu's (SOHU +0.4%) Sogou search unit, but cautions it's "not in the pricing stage yet" and is still weighing integration issues. Analysts estimate the business is worth $1.2B-$1.4B. Sogou, rumored to be drawing interest from a few different companies, was recently estimated to have an 8.8% share of the Chinese search market in June; Qihoo was given a 15.3% share. If integration challenges can be handled well, a Qihoo/Sogou merger would yield a company with more resources, user data, and advertising scale to take on Baidu (BIDU -0.3%, 69.4% share). Sohu has forecast Sogou revenue of $48M-$50M for Q2, +41%-44% Y/Y. | 1 Comment
Jun. 7, 2013, 4:14 PMAlibaba is the latest Chinese Internet giant to be named a buyer of Sohu's (SOHU +4.1%) Sogou search unit by the rumor mill. The Alibaba rumor follows reports in May claiming Qihoo and then Baidu had reached deals to buy Sogou for lofty sums (each report proved unfounded). Sohu closed up strongly today, but so did many other Chinese Internet names. | Comment!
May. 17, 2013, 11:14 AMTake this one with a grain of salt: an "industry source" claims Baidu (BIDU +1.6%) has reached a deal to buy Sohu's (SOHU +2.5%) Sogou search unit for $2B-$2.5B in cash and shares of Baidu's iQiyi online video unit. Though Sohu is rallying, the entire company still only has a market cap of $2.4B, indicating investors are as skeptical of this report as they were of Qihoo deal reports. Acquiring Sogou would pose integration challenges for Baidu, and (given Baidu's dominant Chinese search share) could also draw a regulatory response. (previous) | Comment!
May. 15, 2013, 9:42 AM
May. 13, 2013, 10:13 AMSohu (SOHU +2.5%) pops on Chinese media reports it's set to sell its Sogou search engine to Qihoo (QIHU -2.5%) for $1.4B. However, Sohu CEO Wang Xiaochuan has denied deal rumors; past reports have claimed Baidu and Tencent are also in the running. With Sohu still only having a market cap of $2.4B, it looks like many investors are skeptical (Sogou makes up less than 12% of Sohu's revenue). Qihoo (and for that matter, Baidu) would have to do a lot of heavy lifting to integrate Sogou with its own search engine. | Comment!
Mar. 5, 2013, 4:07 PM
Mar. 14, 2012, 2:41 PMTencent (TCEHY.PK), owner of China's extremely popular QQ instant messaging platform, says it plans to make new acquisitions to lessen its dependence on the online gaming market, where it has a leading share. Many expect the pace of M&A activity among Chinese Internet names to pick up following Youku.com (YOKU) and Tudou's (TUDO) merger. | Comment!
Mar. 12, 2012, 4:22 PMWith a 36% share of the Chinese online video market, Youku.com (YOKU +27.4%) and Tudou (TUDO +156.5%) will tower over #2 Sohu.com (SOHU) and #3 Baidu (BIDU) following their merger, notes Jiang Zhang. Moreover, the tie-up will help the combined company address rising bandwidth and content costs, and allow Youku to enter the Chinese mobile video market. Zhang speculates smaller players such as Ku6 (KUTV +11.9%) could now be acquisition targets for Sohu or Baidu. | 1 Comment
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Sohu.com Incis a Chinese online media, search, gaming, community and mobile service groupproviding comprehensive online products and services on PCs and mobile devices in the People's Republic of China.
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