Baidu to pay $160 million for stake in Chinese group-buying firm

Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:41am EDT

An employee walks past the Baidu company signage outside its headquarters in Beijing, July 26, 2011. REUTERS/Soo Hoo Zheyang

An employee walks past the Baidu company signage outside its headquarters in Beijing, July 26, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Soo Hoo Zheyang

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(Reuters) - Baidu Inc (BIDU.O), China's largest search engine provider, will acquire a stake in Chinese group-buying website Nuomi Holdings Inc for $160 million as it accelerates its push into the country's rapidly growing mobile Internet market.

Baidu will buy newly issued ordinary shares of Nuomi, a wholly-owned subsidiary of social network company Renren Inc (RENN.N), representing about a 59 percent stake, said the search engine provider in a statement on Friday.

Nuomi, a group-buying and local information service similar to Groupon Inc (GRPN.O), would complement Baidu's existing mobile location-based services (LBS) and maps platforms, said Jennifer Li, chief financial officer of Baidu.

"Nuomi's broad geographical sales coverage and established consumer base will be instrumental in helping Baidu build out our LBS platform for local merchants," Li said in the statement.

Baidu's acquisition follows its final agreement on August 14 to buy the 91 Wireless app store business from Netdragon Websoft (0777.HK) for $1.85 billion - the biggest deal in China's Internet sector.

Domestic rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd ALIAB.UL are also investing to stimulate revenue growth, with Alibaba this year buying stakes in Sina Corp's (SINA.O) social-networking website Weibo and in navigation and maps firm AutoNavi Holdings Ltd AMAP.O.

(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Ryan Woo)

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