The company revealed a “going private” transaction in November last year and Youku’s shareholders approved the sale in March.
Valuing Youku Tudou at $5.40 billion, Alibaba paid US$27.6 per New York Stock Exchange-listed ADS. As Alibaba and Jack Ma’s Yunfeng fund already owned close to a fifth of the company, Alibaba paid some $4 billion for the outstanding shares through its YK subsidiary.
As China’s streaming companies have strived to build market share and improve technology, especially for mobile, their revenue growth has outstripped profitability. For the 2014 calendar year Youku Tudou reported losses of $135 million (RMB837 million), up from a loss of $92 million (RMB600 million) in 2014.
Youku Tudou’s most direct rival iQIYI is also loss-making and is the subject of a buy-out proposal, that would see founder Gong Yu and Baidu founder Robin Li pay $2.8 billion to extract it from parent company Baidu.
Alibaba has a growing portfolio of media interests including producer/investor Alibaba Pictures Group, a stake in Wasu Media, and, since this week, the South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong. Integration of Youku Tudou points to connections with Yulebao, a consumer to business funding platform, online payment service Alipay and the ticketing systems that have recently been transferred from Alibaba to Alibaba Pictures.