Autohome Gets Takeover Bid From CEO's Group, Topping Ping An

  • Takeover proposal follows Ping An offer to buy Telstra's stake
  • Shares of Autohome climb to highest level since Jan. 5

Autohome Inc.’s chief executive officer offered to take over the Chinese car website less than 12 hours after Ping An Insurance Group Co. agreed to buy about 48 percent of the company.

CEO James Zhi Qin, together with Boyu Capital, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia China, submitted a preliminary non-binding proposal to buy Autohome for $31.50 a share in cash, the group said in a statement Friday. That’s 12.1 percent more than Autohome’s volume-weighted average price over the last 30 trading days, according to the statement.

The group’s proposal trumps Ping An’s offer of $29.55 a share for a 47.7 percent stake held by Australia’s Telstra Corp. Both offers come as vehicle sales are forecast to accelerate this year in China, the world’s largest auto market.

Ping An, China’s second-largest insurer, will pay $1.6 billion for the stake from Telstra, which will retain a 6.5 percent share in Autohome, the Australian phone company said in a separate statement.

Qin didn’t respond to two calls and an e-mail outside regular business hours Saturday. A representative at Ping An’s investor relations department declined to comment Sunday.

The CEO and his partners plan to form an acquisition company for the transaction and pay for the purchase with equity from its members and bank financing, according to their statement. The offer is subject to definitive agreements and regulatory approvals, they said.

Autohome rose 6.6 percent to close at $32.15 in New York trading Friday, the highest level since Jan. 5.

Total deliveries in China may gain about 6 percent in 2016 to exceed 26 million vehicles, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in January.

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