Business / Technology

Qihoo 360 to go private as buyouts hit record high

By Dai Tian ( Updated: 2015-06-18 10:52

Qihoo 360 to go private as buyouts hit record high

People visit the stand of Qihoo 360 during the 2015 Appliance and Electronics World Expo in Shanghai, Mar 13, 2015. [Photo/IC]

Qihoo 360 Technology, operator of China's second-biggest search engine, received a buyout offer from investors, including its CEO and Chairman Zhou Hongyi, adding to a record number of US-listed Chinese firms going private.

Zhou, together with CITIC Securities, Golden Brick Capital and China Renaissance Holdings, offered to acquire all of the outstanding shares in cash at $77 each, said the Internet security company on Wednesday.

The bid represents a 17 percent premium over Qihoo's previous close in New York, valuing the company at about $10 billion.

The move comes as a growing number of US-listed Chinese companies are either mulling or preparing to come back, as a world-beating rally at their home equity market has made overseas listing less appealing.

Fourteen Chinese firms trading in the US have received takeover bids since the start of April, the most ever in a single quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Domestic policies to facilitate capital raising for high-tech firms and the surging of their domestically listed peers are the main driver, said analysts, as the privatization will often be followed by a new listing in the future.

Shenzhen-listed Baofeng Technology Co has jumped more than 43 times since its public offering on March 24.

Qihoo 360 launched its IPO at New York Exchange in 2011 at an issue price of $14.5 per American depositary share. The company, with businesses ranging from security software to search engine and browsers, is ranked as the number one provider of Internet security products by user base, according to consultancy iResearch.

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