Australian operator Telstra will sell a 47.7 per cent stake in a Chinese online business for automobile consumers, Autohome, for $1.6 billion to Ping An Insurance Group, retaining a 6.5 per cent interest.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn explained that as Autohome moves away from being purely online to operating an offline sales platform in China, it will benefit from a strategic investor in Ping An, which has expertise in car insurance and financing.
“Autohome has played an important role in building our presence in the Chinese technology sector and we look forward to working with Ping An and Autohome management as a minority investor in the next stage of the company’s evolution,” he said.
“Asia remains one of the key elements of our growth strategy. We continue to grow our enterprise services businesses in the region with strong consolidation opportunities in our Pacnet business, joint venture in Indonesia and the exploration of future growth opportunities,” he added.
Telstra, which bought into Autohome in 2013, expects to book an accounting gain of around $1.4 billion in the second half of FY16 as a result of the deal, completion of which is subject to regulatory and board approvals.