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Tencent to take China's Sogou private in $3.5 billion deal - Metro US

Tencent to take China’s Sogou private in $3.5 billion deal

A banner hangs for China-based Sogou Inc to celebrate their IPO at the NYSE in New York

(Reuters) – Sogou Inc said on Tuesday shareholder Tencent Holdings Ltd would take the web search firm private in a $3.5 billion deal, making it the latest Chinese company to exit U.S. markets as tensions mount between the world’s two largest economies.

U.S.-listed shares of Sogou were up about 3% in premarket trading.

The move comes a day after Chinese social network Weibo’s owner Sina Corp said it would be taken private in a $2.6 billion deal. Rival e-commerce firms Alibaba and JD.com have also sought to return to equity markets closer home by making secondary listings in Hong Kong.

The offer price represents a premium of 56.5% to Sogou’s close on July 24, the last trading day before Tencent offered to take it private.

Controlling stakeholder Sohu.com Inc said it would receive about $1.18 billion in cash from Tencent as part of the deal, sending its shares up about 14% in premarket trading.

Tencent currently owns a 39.2% stake in Sogou, according to a letter it sent to Sogou shareholders in July.

Sogou, which was founded in 2005 and debuted on the U.S. market in November 2017, generates revenue mainly through search advertising services.

Goldman Sachs( Asia) is acting as financial adviser to Tencent on the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

(Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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