Alibaba makes major investment in Chinese online video platform

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has furthered its drive into the country’s digital media market by agreeing a deal to acquire online video platform Youku Tudou.

Alibaba already held an 18.3-per-cent stake in Youku Tudou and on October 16 made an initial offer of $26.60 (€23.40) per share to assume full control. This offer has been increased to $27.60 per share, with the Reuters news agency stating Alibaba’s investment will be worth around $3.7bn.

Any deal would include the $1.1bn of cash held by Youku Tudou, Alibaba's chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, said in October. The new offer values the rest of Youku Tudou at about $4.8bn.

Youku Tudou chief executive Victor Koo, who owns about 18 per cent of Youku Tudou, will retain his position after the deal closes in the first quarter of 2016. “With Alibaba's support, Youku Tudou's future as the leading multi-screen entertainment and media platform in China has been firmly secured,” Koo said in a statement.

The deal comes after Alibaba in September entered into a collaboration with media corporation Sina and private equity firm Yunfeng Capital to establish a company that aims to “transform” the country’s sports industry.

Alibaba Sports Group said it would develop an internet-based sports platform to enhance consumers and sports fans’ engagement with sports teams and brands. It will integrate e-commerce, media, marketing, video, home entertainment and cloud computing among other internet-enabled technologies.

The International Shooting Sport Federation launched a dedicated channel on Youku in June.