Chinese search giant Baidu is making a power play in mobile today with its freshly announced acquisition plans for mobile app distribution platform 91 Wireless, which comes through online gaming and mobile Internet provider NetDragon Websoft.
The deal, Baidu says, is valued at $1.9 billion. It is, hands down, Baidu’s largest acquisition in company history.
“Baidu and NetDragon will further negotiate and agree on the relevant terms of the Proposed Acquisition in the definitive agreements by 14 August 2013 (“the Long Stop Date”) to purchase NetDragon’s 57.41% equity interest in 91 Wireless,” a statement from Baidu reads.
Before the signing of definitive agreements or the Long Stop Date (whichever is earlier), NetDragon is restricted from approaching or discussing with any third parties the sale of 91 Wireless. Baidu intends to purchase the remaining equity interests in 91 Wireless from other shareholders based on terms and conditions similar to those offered to NetDragon, provided those shareholders are willing to sell by the Long Stop Date.
No executive comments were published with this morning’s relatively low-key announcement.
Baidu presently controls better than 75% percent of China’s search market by sales and mobile is becoming an increasingly important part of Baidu’s plans for further growth.