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Alibaba seeks full control of mapping company

2014-02-11 11:26 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group offered to buy out the shares it doesn't already own in AutoNavi Holdings on Monday, in a move to beef up its presence in the digital mapping arena.

Unlisted Alibaba is offering $21 for each American depositary receipt of NASDAQ-listed AutoNavi, Alibaba said in a proposal letter sent to AutoNavi's board on Monday, a 27 percent premium on AutoNavi's closing price in New York on Friday.

"We believe that Alibaba is uniquely positioned to offer superior value to AutoNavi's shareholders based on our complementary, rather than competitive, business strategies and the potential synergies we can achieve from a full combination," Joseph Tsai, -Alibaba's executive vice chairman, wrote in the letter.

Alibaba already holds 28.3 percent of the shares, and it is seeking to buy the remaining stake with cash.

If the transaction is completed, Autonavi, which has seen its shares rising since Alibaba bought into the company in May 2013, would be delisted.

AutoNavi said on Monday that its board has received Alibaba's proposal letter and "intends to promptly form a committee of independent directors to consider the transaction."

But "no decisions have been made with respect to [its] response to the transaction," according to the announcement.

The deal, estimated to be worth around $1.1 billion, would be one of Alibaba's biggest-ever acquisitions.

Its recent major purchases include the acquisition of an 18 percent stake in Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service in China, in April 2013.

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