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Tencent-backed Meituan near deal for bike-sharing firm Mobike: source

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In a press statement on Friday, the firm announced a deposit-free policy for new and existing users who have registered a Mobike account with a Singapore phone number.

[HONG KONG] Meituan Dianping, the Chinese food review and delivery giant, is close to a final agreement to acquire the biking startup Mobike, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Meituan plans to allow Mobike's current management and chief executive officer to stay on and operate as an independent entity under the terms of the deal, said the person, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Mobike was most recently valued at US$3 billion. Meituan and Mobike didn't immediately provide comment.

Meituan, formed by a merger with Dianping, has grown into a super-app offering everything from group-buying deals and ride hailing to travel packages and payments. With a few taps to navigate its smartphone apps, Chinese customers can order up hot meals, groceries, massages, haircuts and manicures at home or in the office. It is backed by Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., as is Mobike.

Meituan has begun discussions to go public in Hong Kong as soon as this year and is targeting a valuation of at least US$60 billion, people familiar with the matter have said. The company is considering listing its shares in China as well if new policies allowing such offerings are implemented.

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Meituan's primary competitor is Ele.me, a similar provider of local services backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. This week, Alibaba agreed to acquire full control of Ele.me in a deal that implies a US$9.5 billion valuation for the startup.

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