China’s Qi­hoo gets US$9 bil. buy­out of­fer from CEO

The China Post - - FEATURE -

China’s Qi­hoo 360 Tech­nol­ogy Co. Ltd., a provider of In­ter­net se­cu­rity prod­ucts and pop­u­lar mo­bile browser, has re­ceived a US$9.1 bil­lion of­fer from a group led by its chief ex­ec­u­tive to buy out its public share­hold­ers.

The of­fer for Qi­hoo’s U. S.- traded shares is the big­gest yet in a wave of pro­pos­als this year to take Chi­nese com­pa­nies pri­vate at a time of surg­ing stock prices at home and in­creased scru­tiny of their fi­nances by for­eign share­hold­ers.

Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies turned to U.S. and other for­eign stock ex­changes over the past decade to raise money due to lack of ac­cess to the state-dom­i­nated fi­nan­cial sys­tem at home.

Com­mu­nist lead­ers have promised to give pri­vate com­pa­nies more ac­cess to China’s stock mar­kets and other fi­nanc­ing in an ef­fort to make its econ­omy more pro­duc­tive. Com­bined with a stock price boom that be­gan in late 2014, that has prompted ex­pec­ta­tions com­pa­nies that buy back shares abroad will seek list­ings on Chi­nese ex­changes in­stead.

The Qi­hoo of­fer gave no in­di­ca­tion whether the buy­out group planned to seek a mar­ket list­ing in China.

The group led by Zhou Hongyi, Qi­hoo’s founder, of­fered $77 per U.S.traded share, Qi­hoo said. That would be a 16 per­cent pre­mium over Tues­day’s clos­ing price of US$66.05. Shares rose to US$70.15 fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment.

Oth­ers in the group of­fer­ing the buy­out in­clude state-owned CITIC Se­cu­ri­ties Co. Ltd., Se­quoia Cap­i­tal China I LP, Golden Brick Cap­i­tal Pri­vate Eq­uity Fund I LP and China Re­nais­sance Hold­ings Ltd.

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