Following the big Facebook/Oculus deal last week, all other acquisitions seem to fall in its shadow. But beyond the continued equity chase by the world’s leading social network, significant deals occurred in various markets, led by Asian firms. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba moved into the offline segment by acquiring a major stake in InTime Retail; games publisher SmileGate bought a stake in Sundaytoz; and Lithium Technologies acquired social tool Klout. Asia’c corporate finance landscape is alive and well, and we expect Chinese retailers to increasingly make their presence felt on the European market. European business brokers are likely to be kept busy in the future, as Asian capital closes in on attractive digital commerce start-ups.
Chinese internet retailer shows clout by moving into offline sphere
The latest trend on the Chinese acquisitions market could be dominated by online-to-offline commerce, with companies trying to leverage mobile device penetration and online traffic to help drive customers into brick-and-mortar stores. The cycle of online and offline finally meeting is likely to create even larger retailing giaints in China, a landscape already dominated by Alibaba and Tencent. Alibaba has just paid $692 million for an 80.0% stake in department store operator named InTime Retail. One of the main driving factors behind the deal is Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace gaining access to InTime’s products, thereby expanding the range of products available online. Essentially, the online segment will direct consumers to physical stores where they can choose and pick up goods, while the physical stores will market online shopping capabilities.
Lithium charges up its value ahead of IPO
Lithium Technologies, which focuses on customer engagement for retailers, has acquired social measuring tool Klout in a $200 million deal. The social platform rates a client’s potential to influence others through their social networks. The new addition, which was acquired through a mix of cash and Lithium stock, will provide another layer to the company’s customer brand awareness tools.
South Korean gaming firm expands portfolio
SmileGate, an online game publishing company from South Korea, has looked to expand its influence on the domestic gaming market, purchasing 20% stock of local rival Sundaytoz for $112 million. Sundaytoz has attracted attention due to its successful mobile puzzle title Anipang 2, which SmileGate hopes to scale up through its global network and infrastructure access.
Sell businesses are clearly active in Asia, as local majors shore up their domestic market presence by acquiring value-adding enterprises that can expand inventories and product ranges. Gaming and shopping are the two major industries in the region, and crossover activity is already obvious. Asian firms certainly kicked off 2014 strongly, with major acquisitions of US assets by Chinese and Japanese companies in January. M&A volume in the Asian region rose 60% to $67.2 billion in January 2014 from a year earlier, and the volume of Asian companies buying companies in other regions more than tripled to $24.8 billion.
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