Baidu, China's Internet search giant, is trying to bring in new investors for its wholly-owned financial unit, which could bring in up to two billion U.S. dollars to help Baidu further its financial services.
People familiar with the matter said to Reuters investors either acquired Baidu's shares in Baidu Financial Services Group or acquired new shares in the unit. Baidu Financial Services Group in the new round of financing before the valuation of 180 billion yuan (about 2.8 billion US dollars).
It is reported that Baidu is currently negotiating with potential investors, the goal of attracting 1.5 billion to 2 billion U.S. dollars investment. About 50% of the financing will be raised through the sale of Baidu's financial services group shares held by Baidu, the sources said, and the entire financing is expected to be completed in April this year.
Baidu Financial Services Group operates a payment system Baidu Wallet, an online credit service and an online wealth management platform. By introducing new investors, Baidu is trying to narrow the gap with local rivals Alibaba and Tencent's financial services.
This round of financing is just as Baidu's corporate strategy for a broader restructuring, the company hopes to open up new revenue sources outside the core search business. Baidu declined to comment on the financing.
At present, Baidu Financial Services Group mainly provides online financial services and products in China and owns several financial licenses such as third-party payment licenses and fund sales licenses.
According to an informed source, Baidu Financial Services plans to use some of the proceeds of this financing to invest in several domestic financial institutions, such as trust companies. It is estimated that Baidu Financial Services Group net revenue this year is expected to reach 3 billion yuan to 4 billion yuan, and is expected to achieve a slight profit.