Warburg, General Atlantic back privatisation bid for Chinese classifieds firm 58.com

Photo by Eepeng Cheong on Unsplash

A take-private offer for Chinese online classifieds marketplace 58.com has secured the backing of private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic, the New York-listed firm said on Thursday.

Warburg Pincus Asia, General Atlantic Singapore Fund, Ocean Link, and Yao Jinbo, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of 58.com, have proposed to acquire all outstanding ordinary shares of 58.com for $27.5 in cash per ordinary share, or $55 in cash per ADS, the Chinese firm said in a regulatory filing.

The latest offer values the business at about $8.23 billion.

The development comes less than a month after Ocean Link, a Chinese private equity firm backed by General Atlantic and Chinese online travel agency Trip.com, first revealed its intention to privatise the New York-listed company on April 2.

The proposed transaction, which will be funded by the consortium using a combination of equity and debt financing, represents a 17.8 per cent premium to the April 1 closing price, and a 17.1 per cent premium to the volume-weighted average closing price during the last 15 calendar days preceding the original proposal of April 2, according to the filing.

The offer provides “an attractive opportunity for the company’s shareholders,” said the consortium, which currently holds about 44.1 per cent of the total voting power of 58.com’s issued and outstanding shares.

Beijing-based 58.com formed a committee of two independent directors earlier in April to evaluate the proposed transaction or any alternative strategic options that the company may pursue.

58.com, which is China’s largest online classifieds marketplace in terms of monthly unique visitors on its website and mobile app, registered almost 15.58 billion yuan ($2.21 billion) in total revenues in 2019, an 18.6 per cent increase from 2018.

The Chinese firm has been active in making investments and acquisitions lately. In late March, 58.com joined hands with residential property listing service 58 Aifang to invest 500 million yuan ($71 million) in Daojiale.com, an online real estate agent based in southwestern China’s Chongqing city.

The company also announced in March that it would purchase Nasdaq-listed online used automobile dealer Uxin’s B2B car auction business for $105 million in cash.

Singapore Reporter/s

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

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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).

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.