Tencent offers to take US-listed web search firm Sogou private

FILE PHOTO: People visit Tencent's booth at the World 5G Exhibition in Beijing, China, Nov. 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

China’s Sogou Inc said on Monday shareholder Tencent Holdings has made a preliminary offer to buy the rest of the web search firm it did not already control, in a deal that valued the company at about $3.5 billion.

Tencent, which beneficially owns about 39.2% of the total issued and outstanding shares of Sogou, has offered $9 per share in cash, a premium of 56.5% to the last close of Sogou’s U.S.-listed stock.

Sogou’s shares climbed to $8.39 in early morning trade.

The company was founded in 2005 by Sohu.com Inc and generates revenue mainly through search advertising services. Its Chinese rivals include Baidu Inc and Alibaba’s UCWeb.

Sogou made its debut on the U.S. market in November 2017 and raised $585 million at $13 per share.

Tencent intends to finance the transaction with cash on hand and has won the backing of Sohu CEO Charles Zhang, who owns about 6.4% of Sogou, the Chinese tech giant said in a letter addressed to the target’s board.

A special committee of the board, composed solely of independent directors, will consider the proposal, Sogou said.

Reuters

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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).

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  • 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.