BEIJING, June 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Bitauto Holdings Limited (“Bitauto” or the “Company”) (NYSE: BITA), a leading provider of internet content & marketing services, and transaction services for China’s automotive industry, today announced that it has entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with Yiche Holding Limited (“Parent”), and Yiche Mergersub Limited, a wholly owned Subsidiary of Parent, pursuant to which the Company will be acquired by an investor consortium led by Morespark Limited, an affiliate of Tencent Holdings Limited (“Tencent“) and Hammer Capital Opportunities Fund L.P. (acting through its general partner Hammer Capital Opportunities General Partner, “Hammer Capital”) in an all-cash transaction that values the Company’s equity at approximately US$1.1 billion (the “Merger”).
Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, at the effective time of the Merger (the “Effective Time”), each ordinary share of the Company (each, a “Share”) issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Effective Time will be cancelled and cease to exist in exchange for the right to receive US$16 in cash without interest, and each outstanding American depositary share of the Company (each, an “ADS,” representing one Share) will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive US$16 in cash without interest, except for (a) certain Shares (including Shares represented by ADSs) owned by affiliates of Tencent, an affiliate of JD.com, Inc., and Mr. Bin Li, chairman of the board of directors of the Company (the “Board”), which will be rolled over in the transaction , (b) Shares (including ADSs represented by Shares) owned by Parent, Merger Sub, the company or any of their respective subsidiaries, (c) Shares (including ADSs represented by Shares) held by the ADS depositary and reserved for issuance, settlement and allocation upon exercise or vesting of Company’s options and/or restricted share unit awards, and (d) Shares held by shareholders who have validly exercised and not effectively withdrawn or lost their rights to dissent from the merger pursuant to Section 238 of the Companies Law of the Cayman Islands, which will be cancelled and cease to exist in exchange for the right to receive the payment of fair value of those dissenting shares in accordance with Section 238 of the Companies Law of the Cayman Islands.
The merger consideration represents a premium of 16.4% to the closing price of the Company’s ADSs on September 12, 2019, the last trading day prior to the Company’s announcement of its receipt of the “going-private” proposal, and a premium of 35.1% to the average closing price of the Company’s ADSs during the 30 trading days prior to its receipt of the “going-private” proposal.
The investor consortium includes Tencent and Hammer Capital. The consortium intends to fund the Merger with a combination of rollover equity and cash, and has delivered copies of executed equity commitment letters to the Company.
The Board, acting upon the unanimous recommendation of a committee of independent directors established by the Board (the “Special Committee”), approved the Merger Agreement and the Merger and resolved to recommend that the Company’s shareholders vote to authorize and approve the Merger Agreement and the Merger. The Special Committee negotiated the terms of the Merger Agreement with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors.
The Merger is currently expected to close in the second half of 2020 and is subject to customary closing conditions including the approval of the Merger Agreement by an affirmative vote of holders of Shares representing at least two-thirds of the voting power of the Shares present and voting in person or by proxy at a meeting of the Company’s shareholders. Shareholders affiliated with Tencent, JD.com, Inc., Mr. Bin Li, and Cox Automotive Global Investment, Inc. have each agreed to vote all of the Shares and ADSs they beneficially own, which represent approximately 55.3% of the voting rights attached to the outstanding Shares as of the date of the Merger Agreement, in favor of the authorization and approval of the Merger Agreement and the Merger. If completed, the Merger will result in the Company becoming a privately held company, and its ADSs will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Company will prepare and file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission a Schedule 13E-3 transaction statement, which will include a proxy statement of the Company. The Schedule 13E-3 will include a description of the Merger Agreement and contain other important information about the Merger, the Company and the other participants in the Merger.
Duff & Phelps, LLC and Duff & Phelps Securities, LLC are serving as financial advisor to the Special Committee. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as U.S. legal counsel to the Special Committee.
BofA Securities is serving as financial advisor to the investor consortium. Latham & Watkins LLP and Kirkland and Ellis are serving as U.S. legal counsel and Hong Kong legal counsel to the investor consortium, respectively.
Additional Information about the Merger
The Company will furnish to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a current report on Form 6-K regarding the Merger, which will include as an exhibit thereto the Merger Agreement. All parties desiring details regarding the Merger are urged to review these documents, which will be available at the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov).
In connection with the Merger, the Company will prepare and mail a proxy statement to its shareholders. In addition, certain participants in the Merger will prepare and mail to the Company’s shareholders a Schedule 13E-3 transaction statement that will include the proxy statement. These documents will be filed with or furnished to the SEC. INVESTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY THESE MATERIALS AND OTHER MATERIALS FILED WITH OR FURNISHED TO THE SEC WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE, AS THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMPANY, THE MERGER AND RELATED MATTERS. In addition to receiving the proxy statement and Schedule 13E-3 transaction statement by mail, shareholders also will be able to obtain these documents, as well as other filings containing information about the Company, the Merger and related matters, without charge, from the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov) or at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, NE, Room 1580, Washington, D.C. 20549.
The Company and certain of its directors, executive officers and other members of management and employees may, under SEC rules, be deemed to be “participants” in the solicitation of proxies from the Company’s shareholders with respect to the Merger. Information regarding the persons who may be considered “participants” in the solicitation of proxies will be set forth in the proxy statement and Schedule 13E-3 transaction statement relating to the Merger when it is filed with the SEC. Additional information regarding the interests of such potential participants will be included in the proxy statement and Schedule 13E-3 transaction statement and the other relevant documents filed with the SEC when they become available.
This announcement is neither a solicitation of a proxy, an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an offer to sell any securities and it is not a substitute for any proxy statement or other filings that may be made with the SEC should the Merger proceed.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains statements that express the Company’s current opinions, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or projections regarding future events or future results and therefore are, or may be deemed to be, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”). These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “if,” “will,” “expected” and similar statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include: uncertainties as to how the Company’s shareholders will vote at the meeting of shareholders; the possibility that competing offers will be made; the possibility that financing may not be available; the possibility that various closing conditions for the transaction may not be satisfied or waived; and other risks and uncertainties discussed in documents filed with the SEC by the Company, as well as the Schedule 13E-3 transaction statement and the proxy statement to be filed by the Company. These forward-looking statements reflect the Company’s expectations as of the date of this press release. You should not rely upon these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.
Bitauto Holdings Limited (NYSE: BITA) is a leading provider of internet content & marketing services, and transaction services for China’s automotive industry. Bitauto’s business consists of three segments: advertising and subscription business, transaction services business and digital marketing solutions business.
Bitauto’s advertising and subscription business provides a variety of advertising services to automakers through the bitauto.com website and corresponding mobile apps which provide consumers with up-to-date automobile pricing and promotional information, specifications, reviews and consumer feedback. Bitauto also provides transaction-focused online advertisements and services for promotional activities to its business partners, including automakers, automobile dealers, auto finance partners and insurance companies. Bitauto offers subscription services via its SaaS platform, which provides web-based and mobile-based integrated digital marketing solutions to new car automobile dealers in China. The SaaS platform enables automobile dealer subscribers to create their own online showrooms, list pricing and promotional information, provide automobile dealer contact information, place advertisements and manage customer relationships to help them reach a broad set of purchase-minded customers and effectively market their automobiles to consumers online.
Bitauto’s transaction services business is primarily conducted by its controlled subsidiary, Yixin Group Limited (SEHK: 2858), a leading online automobile finance transaction platform in China, which provides transaction platform services as well as self-operated financing services.
Bitauto’s digital marketing solutions business provides automakers with one-stop digital marketing solutions, including website creation and maintenance, online public relations, online marketing campaigns, advertising agent services, big data applications and digital image creation.
For more information, please visit ir.bitauto.com.
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Bitauto Holdings Limited