Chinese search engine giant Baidu to divest stake in online travel site Ctrip

A man using a laptop computer walks past an illuminated sign for Baidu Inc. at the Baidu Technology Park in Beijing, China, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Baidu Inc. is selling about a third of its stake in online travel site Ctrip.com International Ltd., generating around $1 billion to counter a slowing economy and intensifying competition in its key advertising business.

Ctrip announced Thursday a proposed secondary offering of 31.3 million American depositary shares held by Baidu. That represents around 30% of its stake in Ctrip and is equivalent to around $1 billion according to Ctrip’s current share price.

Baidu will remain Ctrip’s largest shareholder. It owned a 19% stake in the company after exchanging its shares in rival travel service provider Qunar in 2015. The share swap created China’s biggest online travel agency, putting a halt to a cash-burning price war.

The proceeds will come in handy for the Beijing-based company. “Baidu may use the cash to meet its operational needs as its near-term sales falter amid macro-economic and competitive pressures,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam wrote in a research note on Thursday.

Baidu over the past years has sold its food-delivery arm to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Ele.me, and merged its music streaming service with Chinese record label Taihe, allowing the search giant to focus on its key units such as advertising, smart speakers and autonomous cars.

More recently, the 19-year-old company has expanded its investment into content needed to attract and keep users, backing social media platforms including Q&A app Zhihu.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.