Baidu Denies Reports of Imminent iQIYI Sale

2016/12/26 10:08:00 (Beijing Time)   Source:Variety    By:Patrick Frater

Baidu, China’s Internet search giant, has denied reports that it is currently pushing for an IPO of its video streaming unit, iQIYI.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the group was looking at a flotation in either the U.S. or Hong Kong some time next year. It said that the share sale would follow the issue of convertible bonds or other financial instruments and that the sale could raise $1 billion. That would give iQIYI an implied valuation of some $5 billion.

That WSJ report was carried widely by other media, including Variety after unsuccessful attempts to verify the information.The rebuttal was posted Friday on Baidu’s own microblog.

Baidu has had a turbulent year with some of its forms of advertising and search result presentation questioned by Chinese regulators. In July a move by Baidu’s Robin Li and iQIYI founder Gong Yu to take the unit private collapsed when shareholders said the $2.8 billion offer was too low. A successful sale of iQIYI might have represented a change in Baidu’s fortunes.

Baidu acquired 80% of iQIYI in 2012 and integrated it closely with its search functions. Now the emphasis at iQIYI is less on bolstering its already  impressive usage figures, and more on building subscription revenue through premium content. That has necessitated moves into production, kept iQIYI in loss, and increased iQIYI’s drain on Baidu.

Movie Gross Admissions
Caught In Time
The Croods: A New ... US$17.93(M) 3599729
One Second US$10.00(M) 1903648
The Sacrifice US$5.76(M) 1108198
Find Your Voice US$2.50(M) 416124
Greenland US$1.51(M) 333206
My People, My Home... US$1.50(M) 292628
Paw Patrol : Might... US$1.27(M) 296418
The Call of the Wild US$0.98(M) 210081
The Wandering Eart... US$0.39(M) 195658