The company said in a statement that New Wave MMXV Ltd., the anglicized name of Sina, submitted a preliminary non-binding proposal letter dated Monday for a “going private” transaction. New Wave is controlled by Charles Chao, chairman and chief executive officer of Sina, according to the statement.
At $41, the U.S.-listed company would be valued at about $2.7 billion, an 11.8% premium on its last closing price on Thursday.
Sina operates Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The firm was among the first wave of Chinese internet companies to seek listings internationally at the beginning of the century. It went public on the NASDAQ in 2000, with its shares rising 174% since then. The S&P 500 Index rose 116% during the same period.
With the encouragement of China’s government and to be closer to their customers, some U.S.-listed Chinese companies have reversed course and sought homecomings via Hong Kong listings in the past year. That includes Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc.
Chao controls 13.5% of Sina’s ordinary shares, according to a filing. Sina said in its statement that New Wave and its beneficiaries control 58% of the voting power in the company. The acquisition, to be financed by a combination of debt and equity, will be evaluated by a special committee set up by Sina’s board, according to the statement.
An investor group backed by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic offered in June to take private 58.com Inc., a Chinese online bulletin board akin to Craigslist, in a deal valuing the company at about $8.7 billion.
Sina shares jumped as much as 10.8% on Monday after the announcement disclosing the offer. They closed at $40.54 in New York