Baidu to buy 91 Wireless for $1.9 billion

July 16, 2013 at 1:48 PM
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HONG KONG, July 16 (UPI) -- Chinese Internet search engine company Baidu said it has signed a commitment to purchase application business 91 Wireless for $1.9 billion.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that 91 Wireless, which began in 2007, operates 91 Assistant and HiMarket. Together, the companies have achieved the milestone of 10 billion downloads, the Times said.

Baidu said in May it would buy PPStream, an online video business valued at $370 million, in a deal announced on the heels of rival company Alibaba's announcement it would buy 18 percent of social network Web site Weibo from Sina Corp. for $586 million.

Baidu's letter of intent to buy 91 Wireless from NetDragon stipulates a formal deal be signed by Aug. 14, the Times said.

"As one of the leading app stores, 91 could help Baidu's mobile Internet strategy and expand Baidu's mobile user base," said iResearch analyst Will Tao.

"This will be the largest transaction in Baidu's history and should help the company to secure a strong position in mobile Internet with a leading mobile app store in China," wrote Chi Tsang, a telecommunications and Internet industry specialist at HSBC in a research note.

"The significant traffic will likely reinforce Baidu's position as a leading starting page on mobile, in addition to its leading search and map apps," the note said.

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