Integration to create biggest internet merger deal in China.
Chinese internet giant Alibaba will acquire all the remaining shares of the web browser and search company UCWeb Inc., in what is termed as the ‘mother of all internet merger deals in China.’
Terms and value of the deal remain undisclosed, but inside sources say that it is worth more than the $1.9bn paid for 91 Wireless by Baidu last year, considered the biggest deal in China’s Internet sector.
UCWeb will be a part of UC Mobile, Alibaba’s business unit, which will oversee Alibaba’s browser, mobile search, location-based services, mobile gaming, app store and mobile reader operations.
This is a move to emphasise the company’s push to do more business on mobile in the world’s biggest smartphone market.
In a statement, the companies said "The move highlights the comprehensive integration of Alibaba and UCWeb following Alibaba’s investment in UCWeb in 2009 and 2013, and will enable deeper synergies between the companies by marrying Alibaba’s strengths in e-commerce, cloud computing and big data technology and UCWeb’s leading market position and technology in mobile."
Alibaba already held about 66% stake in UCWeb before the merger, according to its May IPO filing. The company has been on an investment spree, which already total $4.8bn in the past six months.
UCWeb is considered as one of the biggest web browser companies in China, with more than 50% market share.
Mobile is the hottest space in China right now, and Alibaba’s acquisition of UCWeb is a step in the right direction as the company looks to expand its mobile offerings. Its rival Baidu also reportedly tried to acquire UCWeb in 2012, reports Reuters.