The two biggest video sites in China, Youku and Tudou, have agreed to merge their businesses into one company with an estimated value of US$1bn.
Paid Content reports that Youku will buy all of Tudou’s stock in the deal. They plan to combine into one company called Youku Tudou Inc, though Tudou will retain its own brand. This will allow it to share content and advertisers. The merger, if approved, is expected close in the third quarter of 2012.
Youku and Tudou are China’s two biggest video websites, both owning 35.5pc of China’s online video revenues.
They work similarly to YouTube, which is blocked in the country. They both host videos created by users, as well as premium and ad-supported content from television and movie companies. Both companies went public in New York in 2010 and 2011 and raised US$375m combined.
“We intend to lead the next phase of online video development in China,” said Victor Koo, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Youku.
“Youku Tudou Inc will represent a differentiated leader in the online video market in China with the largest user base, most comprehensive content library, most advanced bandwidth infrastructure and strongest monetisation capability within the sector.
“Youku Tudou Inc will have the reach and scale to bring our users high quality content at high speeds. The combined company will have the two leading online video brands in China: Youku and Tudou,” he said.