Alibaba to buy minority stake in Focus Media to tap digital marketing

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> on Wednesday said it has agreed to acquire a minority stake in China’s Focus Media Information Technology Co Ltd <002027.SZ> to tap into the digital marketing sector.

Alibaba will acquire about 6.62 percent in Focus Media for 9.63 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) and possibly another 5.0 percent stake in the next 12 months, it said in a statement.

The e-commerce firm would also invest $511.1 million in an entity controlled by Focus Media’s chairman Jason Jiang, by subscribing to newly issued shares, it said.

Focus media, which was founded in 2003, has its main business in China’s interactive digital media and online advertising sectors.

Upon completion of the deal, Alibaba will become Focus Media’s strategic investor, the Shenzhen-listed firm said in a separate exchange filing.

(This version of the story corrects the currency conversion in paragraph two)

(Reporting by Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong and Lee Chyenyee in Singapore; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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