Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) announced that it made a non-binding proposal to the board of directors of Youku Tudou Inc (ADR) (NYSE:YOKU) to acquire all outstanding shares of Youku, including shares represented by American depositary shares (“ADSs,” each representing 18 ordinary shares of Youku), that it does not already own for US$26.60 per ADS in an all-cash transaction. The proposal is subject to satisfactory completion of due diligence by Alibaba and the negotiation of a mutually acceptable definitive merger agreement. In May 2014, Alibaba made an initial strategic investment in Youku and owns 18.3% of the outstanding share capital of Youku based on Youku’s public filings.

Digital entertainment is core to Alibaba’s strategy of promoting consumption of virtual goods and services. The proposed transaction would expand the existing partnership between Alibaba and Youku, and would combine Alibaba’s unparalleled data-driven platforms in e-commerce, media and advertising with Youku’s market-leading digital video franchise to significantly accelerate Youku’s growth. Youku’s large user base, especially in mobile, and its popular platforms with high user engagement would form one of the key pillars of Alibaba’s digital entertainment strategy. Under Alibaba’s proposal, Youku’s founder, Victor Koo, would continue to lead the business as chairman and chief executive officer.

“We are pleased to submit the proposal to the Youku board of directors,” said Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group. “We believe that the proposed transaction, with tighter integration of our resources, will help Youku achieve exciting growth in the years ahead by leveraging Alibaba’s assets in living-room entertainment, e-commerce, advertising and data analytics. Digital products, especially video, are just as important as physical goods in e-commerce, and Youku’s high-quality video content will be a core component of Alibaba’s digital product offering in the future. I look forward to working with Victor and his leadership team to grow our combined digital entertainment business.”

“I’ve always admired what Victor has built,” said Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma. “A closer partnership with Youku will give us the opportunity to support Victor and his leadership team to fulfill the dream of building the leading digital entertainment platform in China.”

Alibaba is making the proposal with the support of the founding shareholders of Youku, including Victor Koo, Chengwei Capital and their affiliates. (Original Source)

Shares of Alibaba Group are trading up 1.52% to $72.87 Friday. BABA has a 1-year high of $120 and a 1-year low of $57.20. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $64.35 and its 200-day moving average is $78.39.

On the ratings front, Alibaba Group has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 12, RBC analyst Mark Mahaney reiterated a Buy rating on BABA, with a price target of $80, which represents a potential upside of 11.5% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on October 2, Cantor Fitzgerald’s Youssef Squali reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $88.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Mark Mahaney and Youssef Squali have a total average return of 21.5% and 15.7% respectively. Mahaney has a success rate of 62.8% and is ranked #6 out of 3779 analysts, while Squali has a success rate of 58.1% and is ranked #29.

The street is mostly Bullish on BABA stock. Out of 21 analysts who cover the stock, 19 suggest a Buy rating and 2 recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $90.50, which implies an upside of 26.1% from current levels.