Baidu On Cusp Of Deal For JOYY’s China Unit – Report

Baidu (BIDU) is on the cusp of inking a deal to snap up JOYY’s (YY) China operations, reports Chinese digital media outlet Jiemian. JOYY is a global video-based social media platform with over 457 million global average mobile monthly active users.

According to the report, the deal excludes JOYY’s international business, which would continue to operate as an independent unit.

However Jiemian notes that the revenue from JOYY’s Bigo overseas broadcast business has now surpassed that of the company’s domestic business, which it says could suggest there is a limit to the growth potential of JOYY’s Chinese operations.

Nonetheless, the deal could deliver a speedy boost for Baidu’s live broadcast offering.

In its most recent earning results, JOYY revealed that average mobile MAUs (monthly active users) of global live streaming services increased by 20.4% to 102.3 million from 85 million in the corresponding period of 2019.

This included 41.2 million from YY, which increased by 6.0% year over year; and 61.1 million from outside of China, including 29.4 million from Bigo Live, (up 41.3% Y/Y), and 31.7 million from HAGO, (up 25.3% Y/Y).

Notably, the Bigo segment’s revenue grew by 148.8% year over year to RMB 3,062.7 million, mostly driven by live streaming revenue growth.

Mr. David Xueling Li, CEO of JOYY, commented, “To help people cope with the difficulties of COVID-19, we leveraged Bigo Live and our extensive global coverage to launch a series of online charity events… As a result, during the quarter, Bigo Live’s mobile MAUs and paying users achieved very impressive growth, and live streaming revenues of Bigo segment contributed more than half of our total live streaming revenues for the first time ever.”

Mr. Li added, “On the domestic front, we continued to strengthen our leadership in China’s entertainment live streaming industry by further diversifying YY Live’s live streaming content offerings through the introduction of new live streaming celebrity variety shows and more diverse live streaming channels.”

Shares in Baidu are up 6% year-to-date, and the stock scores a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy Street consensus. The average analyst price target suggests shares can advance 16% from current levels.

Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein recently reiterated his BIDU buy rating with a $155 price target following Baidu World 2020 on September 14. BIDU announced the launch of new products and shared its progress in AI initiatives including Apollo, DuerOS and AI Cloud.

For instance, BIDU launched Apollo 6.0, with more powerful autonomous driving capabilities, with a 50% reduction in costs compared with the prior generation. “Overall, we feel BIDU presented a more cohesive strategy of monetizing Apollo, DuerOS, and AI cloud, but in our view, it will still take at least another year to see meaningful revenue contribution” the analyst commented. (See BIDU stock analysis on TipRanks).

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