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Alibaba Offers To Buy Digital Mapping Company AutoNavi



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 (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China’s largest e-commerce firm, offered to acquire AutoNavi Holdings Ltd in a deal valuing the Chinese digital mapping and navigation firm at $1.45 billion (883.39 million pounds).

Alibaba has been trying to expand its product line-up to better compete with Chinese rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd and Baidu Inc, particularly on mobile devices.

AutoNavi said on Monday that Alibaba had offered to buy the 72 percent of the company that it did not already own for $21 per American depository share.

The offer represents a premium of 27 percent to AutoNavi’s Friday close of $16.54 on the Nasdaq.

AutoNavi shares were trading slightly above the offer at $21.15 before the bell on Monday.

Alibaba, which is expected to go public in the United States this year, bought a stake in Sina Corp’s microblogging service Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, at the end of April last year.

Alibaba announced a 28 percent stake in AutoNavi in May.

AutoNavi said it would form a committee including financial and legal advisers to consider the offer, which Alibaba plans to fund with cash on hand.

Alibaba, in which Yahoo Inc holds a 24 percent stake, runs Taobao Marketplace, China’s largest consumer-focused e-commerce website; business-to-business commerce platform; and Alipay, a PayPal-like online payment platform.

(Reporting By Sampad Patnaik in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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