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China, Qatar-backed CITIC Capital planning $900m AsiaInfo deal

28 Nov 2012

China and Qatar-backed sovereign investor CITIC Capital is reportedly planning a $900m deal for Chinese software services company AsiaInfo-Linkage.

The $4.4bn investment company is planning to back a management buyout of the US-listed business according to Bloomberg, which said the deal was expected to be agreed by the end of the year.

It said the debt-free company had $255m in cash and short-term investments at the end of September, giving it an enterprise value of about $645m through the deal.

Global private equity firms including KKR and TPG Capital were believed to be bidding alongside strategic buyers to acquire AsiaInfo earlier this year, in a deal was thought could rise above $1bn.

The company first received an offer from CITIC Capital in January, when the business had a market capitalisation of $714m.

That caused shares to rise up to 40 per cent in the following two months, reaching a high in mid-March.

In August Qatar’s $100bn sovereign wealth fund upped its stake in CITIC Capital to more than 22 per cent as it continued its diversification drive.

The deal through the fund’s Qatar Holding vehicle left CITIC Pacific and CITIC International Financial Holdings with a joint 42.78 per cent stake, while China’s $482bn sovereign fund CIC holds 31.11 per cent.

Management and the trustee of CITIC Capital’s share scheme own the remaining 3.89 per cent.

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