China’s Meituan mulls buying large stake in bike sharing firm Mobike
China’s largest provider of on-demand online services, Meituan Dianping, is buying a large stake in bike-sharing firm Mobike, business magazine Caixin reported on Tuesday citing unnamed sources.
Caixin said the deal was brokered by Pony Ma, chief executive of internet giant Tencent Holdings, which is a backer of both companies.
Meituan Dianping said it did not want to comment on market speculation when reached by the SCMP on Tuesday. Mobike and Tencent did not immediately respond to SCMP requests for comment.
Chinese technology portal Lanjing TMT reported earlier on Tuesday that Meituan will acquire Mobike for US$3.7 billion. Caixin, however, cited a source close to Meituan’s board as saying that the amount is incorrect because the deal is not yet sealed.
A report from Tencent.com, the online new portal of Tencent, said Meituan was not the only company interested in investing in Mobike. Chinese ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing and its Japanese investor SoftBank are also keen to make an offer to invest, the report said.
Mobike will make a decision by Tuesday evening whether to accept the Meituan offer, or go with an alliance of Didi and SoftBank, according to a separate report from mainland business magazine China Entrepreneur on Tuesday.
However, a Didi spokesperson told SCMP: “The news regarding DiDi planning to invest in Mobike is false information. There is no such deal.”
Mobike, one of China’s largest bike-sharing firms, raised US$600 million last June in a financing round led by Tencent. Mobike’s arch-rival Ofo is backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the South China Morning Post.
Meituan-Dianping, an online platform for ordering food and booking movies and restaurants, was valued at US$30 billion last October and is now preparing for an initial public offering in Hong Kong.