Baidu to spend $1.9 billion on app distribution company

The acquisition of 91 Wireless, a Chinese app platform company, helps Baidu expand its presence in the mobile app space.

Baidu, China's largest search engine and an increasingly strong force in the country's mobile market, plans to acquire a Chinese app platform company.

Baidu announced its plans on Monday, saying that it will acquire all issued shares in 91 Wireless for $1.9 billion. Baidu will acquire 57.4 percent of 91 Wireless from its parent company, NetDragon Websoft. The remaining shares will be bought from other shareholders who own the company's issued stock.

The acquisition, the largest ever for Baidu, is an important one for the company as it attempts to take on Android in China for mobile supremacy. Founded in 2007, 91 Wireless provides an app distribution platform in China. The company's many marketplaces have delivered over 10 billion apps to Chinese customers, and according to Baidu, is the largest third-party app-distribution provider in China. Apple's App Store and the Google Play marketplace are considered first-party providers.

Under the terms of the deal, Baidu and NetDragon plan to have the terms nailed down by August 14. In the meantime, NetDragon is banned from shopping 91 Wireless to solicit better offers.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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