June 15, 2020 / 2:55 PM / 18 days ago

China's 58.com to go private in $8.7 billion deal

(Reuters) - Chinese online classifieds 58.com Inc (WUBA.N) said on Monday it would be taken private by a consortium of investors, backed by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic, in a deal that valued the company at about $8.7 billion.

Private equity investors are actively seeking Chinese companies to take private in the hope they can snap up bargains amid the coronavirus-induced sell-off.

The interest in Chinese take-private deals has also been rising following tensions between China and the United States, with several companies considering whether to keep a New York listing or move instead to Shanghai, Shenzhen or Hong Kong.

58.com shareholders will get $56 in cash for each American depositary share, a premium of nearly 20% from when the company got the first take-private proposal in April.

The Nasdaq-listed firm’s shares rose more than 10% to $54.85 in early trading. The deal has been unanimously approved by the company’s board and is expected to close in the second half of 2020.

The take-private consortium includes Warburg Pincus Asia LLC, General Atlantic Singapore Fund Pte Ltd, Ocean Link Partners Ltd, 58.com Chief Executive Officer Jinbo Yao and Internet Opportunity Fund LP, an entity controlled by Yao.

Yao has about 42% of the voting power in 58.com.

Last week, Chinese car comparison website Bitauto Holdings Ltd (BITA.N) agreed to be taken private by an investor group backed by gaming and social media firm Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) for $1.1 billion in cash.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta

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