Baidu's Live Streaming Plans Fail To Materialize

Beijing-based Baidu said its $3.6 billion deal for Joyy’s YY Live has expired three years after it was announced because regulators did not approve the transaction by December 31, according to an exchange filing.

While the sale of YY Live to Baidu was for the most part completed on February 8, 2021, with certain items waiting for completion, Baidu asserted in the Notice that it has and exercised the right to terminate the Share Purchase Agreement and effectively cancel the transaction.

The deal to acquire JOYY's domestic video-based entertainment live streaming business in China, which included YY mobile app, and PC YY for approximately $3.6 billion in cash, was scheduled to close in the first half of 2021.



Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, at the time of the announcement in 2020 said the streaming service would benefit from the search and technology company's web traffic and mobile services. He expected the teams from both companies would build a "next-generation livestreaming and video-based media entertainment" conglomerate. 

The challenge of catching up with Google’s video and streaming platform YouTube and others like ByteDance, parent company of TikTok, which are focused on online entertainment now becomes more difficult with the setback.

Joyy, founded in April 2005, is viewed as a pioneer in video-based social media that listed on NASDAQ in November 2012. Its live-streaming games and the ability to share videos attracted 1.61 million paying users globally. Its China-based revenue reached $236 million in the first nine months of 2023.

The announcement was initially part of a strategy to broaden its content offerings to expand beyond entertainment. But as reports point out, that approach has become less relevant as the company continues to adopt and build out its generative artificial intelligence (GAI) technology.

In a separate statement released Monday, JOYY said it will seek legal advice and consider all options with regard to the canceled deal.

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