UC Web Joins Alibaba in ‘Biggest-ever’ China Internet Merger

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said Wednesday it has completed the biggest merger in the history of China’s internet by buying all the remaining shares of mobile browser firm UCWeb.

Alibaba confirmed the deal in a post on its microblog, Reuters reported today, noting the valuation for UCWeb surpasses the $1.9 billion paid by Baidu Inc. (BIDU) for 91 Wireless last year as China’s biggest Internet deal.

Alibaba, which before the current agreement already had around 66 percent stake in UCWeb-held through convertible preferred shares, said it is paying cash and stock for the maker of the popular UC Browser.

While the companies have not shared financial details of the transaction, the deal puts the Chinese e-commerce giant firmly in control over UCWeb, which runs a suite of smartphone services including an Android app store, a mobile search engine and a gaming platform, in addition to the phone-based browser. UCWeb has more than 500 million users globally, according to research firm iResearch. “This integration will create the biggest merger in the history of China’s Internet,” Reuters quoted Alibaba as saying in its microblog post.

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