Priceline and Baidu increase stake in Ctrip

Ctrip has announced that existing shareholders Baidu and Priceline Group have lifted their stake in the business.

China’s biggest OTA has released a flurry of related financial announcements over the past 24 hours. Initially the filings talked about Baidu and “a strategic shareholder”, with a subsidiary of Priceline named as the strategic shareholder in a later release.

The scale of the Priceline’s investment is relatively modest – it is buying $25m-worth of the announced convertible senior notes valued at a total of $750m.

It will also take $25m-worth of ordinary shares.

Priceline has had a commercial relationship with Ctrip since 2012 and became an equity investor two years later. Last December it invested $500m, which gave it the chance to own up to 15% of Ctrip.

At the time of writing, Priceline has not issued a statement of its own about its latest move.

Baidu meanwhile ended up with a 25% stake in Ctrip as part of a share swap agreement last year which saw Ctrip take a 45% in Qunar, previously majority owned by Baidu.

Baidu is committed to buying $100m-worth of the $750m-worth of senior notes.

Ctrip has also announced a proposed offering of 22,500,000 American depository shares.

While the thrust of the filings is mainly of interest to the investor community, the net result is that Ctrip has raised funds. It “plans to use the net proceeds from the ADS Offering and the concurrent private placement of ordinary shares to Baidu and the Strategic Shareholder [as in, Priceline] for organic growth of  [its] business, acquisitions of and investments in complementary businesses and assets, and other general corporate purposes.”

The funds will supplement the $2.7bn worth of cash and cash equivalents held at the end of its the second  quarter.

It is an active investor in the travel ecosystem. Its recent moves include taking stakes in India’s leading OTA MakeMyTrip and in China Eastern Airlines. It has an independent hotel IT business  Joint Wisdom, which is now listed on China’s New Third Board.

So rival OTAs, airlines and travel tech firms could all be eagerly waiting for a call from the cash-rich and rapidly growing Chinese market leader.

Related reading from Tnooz:
Ctrip quiet on global plans, prioritises supply for China outbound (Sept 2016)
Ctrip’s latest partnership and investment: China Eastern Airlines (April 2016)
Ctrip Group lifts GMV 2020 projection to around $200 billion (March 2016)

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Martin Cowen

About the Writer :: Martin Cowen

Martin Cowen is contributing editor for Tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports.

For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology.

Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for e-tid.com, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.

 

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