The two companies will together boast over a third of the market share in the booming country where online video sites unofficially compete for eyeballs with traditional television. The all-stock deal has been valued at just over $1 billion according to media reports. The combined venture, to be known as Youku Tudou Inc., will be the Chinese leader but will still face competition from other important players including Baidu Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Youku went public in 2010 while Tudou did so last year. They are both traded in the U.S.
BEIJING and SHANGHAI, March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Youku Inc. (NYSE: YOKU) (“Youku”) and Tudou Holdings Limited (NASDAQ: TUDO) (“Tudou”) announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement for Tudou to combine with Youku in a 100% stock-for-stock transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, each Class A ordinary share and Class B ordinary share of Tudou issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 7.177 Class A ordinary shares of Youku, and each American depositary share of Tudou (“Tudou ADSs”), each of which represents four Tudou Class B ordinary shares, will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive 1.595 American depositary shares of Youku (“Youku ADSs”), each of which represents 18 Youku Class A ordinary shares resulting in Youku and Tudou shareholders and ADS holders owning approximately 71.5% and 28.5% of the combined entity, respectively, immediately upon completion of the transaction. Upon completion, the combined entity will be named Youku Tudou Inc. Youku’s ADSs will continue to be listed on the NYSE under the symbol “YOKU”.
“We intend to lead the next phase of online video development in China. Youku Tudou Inc. will represent a differentiated leader in the online video market in China with the largest user base, most comprehensive content library, most advanced bandwidth infrastructure and strongest monetization capability within the sector,” said Victor Koo, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Youku. “Youku Tudou Inc. will have the reach and scale to bring our users high quality content at high speeds. The combined company will have the two leading online video brands in China: Youku and Tudou.”
“Youku and Tudou share a vision for the future of online video in China and how to deliver the best user experience possible,” said Gary Wang, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Tudou. “This transaction further strengthens our market position as Tudou brings its valuable brand, library of professional licensed content, user generated content platform, extensive user base, broad range of partnerships and expertise in mobile video. Together, we believe Youku Tudou Inc. will be able to provide the best-in-class experience for users interested in uploading, watching and sharing videos, and to grow together with our advertisers, and our content and industry partners.”
“When the strategic combination is complete, Tudou will retain its distinct brand identity and platform in Youku Tudou Inc., strengthening and complementing Youku’s video business. Youku Tudou Inc. would establish a clear and dominant leadership position in China’s online video sector and become one of the largest Internet properties in China. This transaction would also lead to improvement in the industry structure and the underlying economics of the online video sector in China,” said Victor Koo. “We expect to see significant synergies across a number of areas including leveraging licensed content over a larger user base and realizing efficiencies in bandwidth management and other common expenses.”
The strategic combination has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is subject to customary closing conditions including shareholder approvals by Youku’s and Tudou’s shareholders. Shareholders of Youku and Tudou with representatives serving on the companies’ respective boards of directors have committed to vote in favor of the strategic combination. The combination is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.