Alibaba, China’s huge e-commerce provider, has agreed to acquire Youku-Tudou, the country’s largest equivalent to YouTube. The acquisition would validate Youku at some €4.1 billion. The deal will probably go ahead next year since it still depends on approval from Youku’s shareholders. Although this is considered a formality, as Alibaba already holds a large stake in the company.
Alibaba announced two months ago that it intended to expand its offer to deliver more film content, notably in sports, to reach existing and potential customers. By acquiring Youku, the group follows the growing trend among Chinese viewers who switch more and more from traditional television to web-based broadcasting. The takeover of Youku is expected to facilitate Alibaba’s access to those viewers.