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Suning diversifies with PPTV deal

Suning Commerce Group Co and private-equity firm Hony Capital Ltd will invest US$420 million in video website PPTV.com, China’s largest electronics retailer Suning said in Beijing.

Nanjing-based Suning will pay US$250 million for a 44 percent stake in PPTV to become the video company’s largest shareholder, according to its statement yesterday.

“PPTV was the last available asset in the video website (for capital). Suning took the chance to expand its Internet-based business,” said Beijing-based research firm Analysys International in an e-mail note.

The investment marks Suning’s latest strategy to move toward Internet services from just offering an off-line retail business. It was also the latest merger and acquisition in the fiercely-competitive domestic video website market, industry insiders said.

Hony, a brother firm of computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd, invested US$170 million in PPTV for 29.9 percent stake.

Baidu Inc, China’s No. 1 Internet search provider, bought PPStream Inc in June for US$370 million and has combined it with IQiyi.com to create one of China’s top online video platforms, which also include Youku Tudou.

Suning has been investing in its online operations as Chinese consumers increasingly buy through the Internet. In September, it unveiled an open platform to allow other retailers to sell on its website. Last year, it bought Redbaby, an online retailer of baby products.

Suning aims to rely less on its traditional electronics business which face pressure from Taobao.com and JD.com.



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