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Alibaba to bid for video site Youku Tudou to extend its reach

alibaba, youku tudou, chinese e-commerce

Alibaba's proposed $3.5 billion buyout of Youku Tudou, a deal that would take the New York Stock Exchange-listed Chinese video site private if accepted, is mainly about advertising with e-commerce sprinkled in.

阿里巴巴计划以35亿美元的价格收购优酷土豆。若后者接受,优酷土豆——这家在纽约证券交易所上市的中国视频网站将会进行退市私有化。阿里巴巴解释道,本次收购意在拓展电子商务及广告市场。

Last year, Alibaba forked out $1.2 billion for a 18 percent stake in the company, which claims a monthly viewership of more than 500 million people in China. The duo have collaborated closely since then, particularly around advertising and identifying mutual users, but, in a call with analysts, Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai admitted that the e-commerce giant needed to buy Youku Tudou outright in order to unlock further synergies and business potential.

去年,阿里巴巴斥资12亿美元,购入优酷土豆近18%的流通股票,后者在中国有近5亿月度浏览量。双方自此以后就合作密切,尤其是在在线广告和用户账号互通两个领域。不过,在与分析师的电话沟通中,阿里巴巴副主席蔡崇信承认,公司虽是电子商务巨头,但若能完全收购优酷土豆,就可以通过协同效应来激发更多商业潜能。

"We've worked with them in various parts of the business, including advertising and data integration, but a lot of cooperation is just partial," Tsai said. "We'd like a closer integration of our resources."

"我们双方已经在很多商业领域有过合作,包括在线广告和数据整合;但是很多合作并不太深入",蔡崇信说道:"我们希望未来能将彼此资源进行更深度的整合"。

The deal is less about financials — Youku Tudou has struggled to post profits despite impressive year-on-year revenue growth — and much more about eyeballs.

此次收购并非单纯的财务原因。优酷土豆虽然营收艰难,但其收入增长年年新高。显然,收购更多是为了"眼球"。

Alibaba is interested in aligning with Youku Tudou because the service, which hosts both YouTube-like free content and Netflix-style paid videos, reaches a demographic that its e-commerce services are yet to fully penetrate: youths. Likewise, with the majority of views — and nearly 50 percent of advertising — coming from mobile devices, closer relations could help Alibaba increase footfall to its mobile apps and services, where it is yet reap the same success with advertising as desktops despite seeing high levels of sales from mobile devices.

阿里巴巴有意邀约收购优酷土豆,主要看中了后者的视频服务。优酷土豆不仅提供类似YouTube的免费视频,还像Netflix一样付费制作剧集,两项业务覆盖了电子商务最想覆盖的人群——年轻人。不仅如此,优酷土豆视频播放以及近50%的广告播放都来自于移动设备,若收购达成,这将更有助于阿里巴巴将流量导入移动应用和服务。目前公司移动端的成交量虽然很高,但也只是刚刚达到桌面端水平。

It's often overlooked that Alibaba makes its money from selling advertising and not by charging commission on transactions, and that's another area where Youku Tudou could add value. Tsai explained that, by matching IDs from Alibaba and Youku Tudou, the company can learn more about users and better tailor advertising and content to them to produce higher returns for advertising partners, and an improved experience for customers themselves.

人们常常忽略的一点就是,阿里巴巴在广告销售上的收入要高于向电子商务平台店铺收取交易佣金的收入。这也就优酷土豆的价值所在。蔡崇信解释道,通过匹配阿里巴巴用户帐号和优酷平台观众的帐号,公司可以了解更多的用户习惯,从而更加精准地向消费者投放广告和内容,向广告主回馈更多利润的同时,也帮助消费者提升体验。

Despite those focuses, it isn't only about ads. As we mentioned in our earlier story, Alibaba has made a big push for entertainment with its own Netflix-style service in China, smart TVs and set-top boxes, and even a motion picture company, among other pursuits. Adding Youku Tudou to its stable bolsters that with a major viewing platform on board, while it could also help nab content deals at better prices — since it can offer a larger userbase to drive down content acquisition costs — and it allows Alibaba to continue to explore potential synergies between its shopping and payments services and entertainment content. Tsai outlined a possible scenario that could see Youku channels funded by advertising from Alibaba's network in the future, but that seemed to be a hypothetical scenario rather than explicit excerpt of the product roadmap.

尽管如此,广告并非收购的唯一原因。我们早先提到,阿里巴巴在娱乐市场也步步为营,学习Netflix,在中国市场提供智能电视和电视机顶盒,甚至还组建了一家电影公司"阿里影业"。优酷土豆的在线观众数量稳定,其庞大的观众群体未来将有助于降低内容购买的价格。这也能帮助阿里巴巴继续开拓其在线购物、支付和娱乐内容上的市场潜力。蔡崇信强调,未来优酷土豆的频道可由阿里巴巴网络的广告资助。不过这似乎还只停留在设想,而并非是实际的未来产品规划。

Youku Tudou's CEO and founding shareholders have approved the deal, which values the company at $5.1 billion — an increase on its $3.9 billion market cap — but Alibaba's offer remains subject to approval from all shareholders. Assuming that is granted, it is likely to be some time before the deal is completed, since it involves a NYSE firm going private.

优酷土豆的CEO以及创始股东都已经表示支持此次收购,这使得公司估值达到了51亿美元——高于39亿的股票市值。但是阿里巴巴的目标是赢得全部股东的支持,这一出价将更有保障。优酷土豆的私有化还需要等待纽约证券交易所的核查确认,所以交易完成前尚需等待一段时间。

2016-06-23

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