China’s Baidu acquires private equity-backed app store 91 Wireless


china beijing_sqChinese search engine Baidu has agreed to buy private equity-backed company NetDragon’s smartphone app store 91 Wireless for $1.9bn.

Baidu has entered into a memorandum of understanding with NetDragon to acquire 57.41 per cent of the company for $1.09bn and offered the other shareholders to buy the remaining stake on the same terms.

The shareholders include private equity firm IDG, which holds a 10.39 per cent stake, Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek with 5.71 per cent and PCCW chairman Richard Li Tzar Kai with 4.14 per cent, according to the FT.

91 Wireless is currently China’s most popular third-party app store, according to research firm iResearch. To date, over 10 billion apps have been downloaded through the 91 Smartphone Apps Marketplaces.

Late last year Providence Equity Partners sold its stake in Chinese HD video platform iQiyi to Baidu.

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