(Yicai Global) Sept. 5 -- US-listed Cheetah Mobile has rebutted reports that it may accept an offer from a consortium wanting to take the Chinese tech firm private.
Neither the board of directors nor management are interested in the privatization deal, Beijing-based Cheetah Mobile said in a statement, adding that the company is committed to serving shareholders and will continue to operate as a public corporation.
Reports appeared online in China yesterday linking Hong Kong-listed Xiaomi, a large smartphone maker trying to push into internet services, to a possible deal with Cheetah, as part of the handset maker's efforts to become a bigger player in the internet sector.
Cheetah's largest shareholder is Kingsoft with a 47.5 percent stake, followed by tech giant Tencent (16.6 percent), founder Fu Sheng (7.2 percent plus 45.4 percent of voting rights) and President Xu Ming (3.1 percent and 3.3 percent of voting rights), public information shows.
Kingsoft's biggest shareholder, Color Link Management, is wholly owned by Xiaomi founder Lei Jun, who also personally owns a 10.9 percent stake in Kingsoft, making up a total 24.2 percent holding. Lei acted as Cheetah Mobile's chairman until March, explaining the link between himself and possible interest in Cheetah.
Established in 2010 through the merger of Kingsoft Security and Conew Image, Cheetah Mobile mainly produces ad-supported apps geared toward mobile security and boasted some 634 million active users as of January.
Cheetah's share price [NYSE:CMCM] rallied almost 10 percent on the news in pre-market trading yesterday, though it fell after to close 2.8 percent down at USD9.63.
Editor: William Clegg