Intime Retail is a Chinese department and supermarket-store opearator that Alibaba hopes will help it grow its presence in the physical world by gaining access to its roughly 25 stores located throughout China. Alibaba is looking for cooperative arrangements that will allow Chinese shoppers to purchase items with their smartphones as it ramps up its mobile war with Tencent Holdings Ltd (HKG:0700) (OTCMKTS:TCEHY).
In a statement, Alibaba said that it would take a 9.9% equity stake in Intime for $214 million and subscribe to $478 million in convertible bonds, which if converted would give Alibaba no less than an additional 25% stake in Intime. This is just the latest in a number of acquisitions that the Chinese Internet’s “big three” have made in the last couple of years. Not unlike Google, Facebook, and Apple which compete all over the Internet in the United States, Alibaba finds itself in a battle with social media and games giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (HKG:0700) (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) and the search provider Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) as they buy up or partner up with considerably smaller companies.
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