Alibaba offers to buy AutoNavi in R18bn deal

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New York - Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is offering to take Chinese digital mapping and navigation company AutoNavi private in a deal that values the entire business at approximately $1.58 billion (R18 bn).

AutoNavi's stock surged more than 27 percent in Monday premarket trading.

The company said that it plans to form a committee of independent directors to consider the proposal.

Alibaba said in a regulatory filing that it will pay $21 per American depository share, or $5.25 per ordinary share.

Each ADS represents four ordinary shares.

The filing said that Alibaba's proposal assumes about 300.4 million outstanding ordinary shares of AutoNavi Holdings Ltd.

In its proposal letter sent to AutoNavi on Monday, Alibaba said that it believes its offer gives AutoNavi's shareholders the chance to “realise superior value that is otherwise difficult for AutoNavi to achieve as a stand-alone company.”

Alibaba said that AutoNavi now has competitors that are bigger and well capitalised.

China-based Alibaba already owns approximately 28 percent of AutoNavi's outstanding stock.

The company said in its letter that it is only interested in pursuing an acquisition and does not plan to sell its stake in AutoNavi to a third party.

Alibaba - which Yahoo Inc. has a 24 percent stake in - said that it plans to pay for the deal with available cash.

Its offer isn't subject to a financing condition. - Sapa-AP

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