April 29, 2018 / 10:41 AM / 25 days ago

Baidu says TPG, Carlyle lead $1.9 bln financing for unit spin-off

HONG KONG, April 29 (Reuters) - Chinese search engine Baidu Inc said private equity firms TPG and Carlyle have led a consortium of investors in providing $1.9 billion of financing to the spin-off of its financial services group.

The financing will be put into technology development of its consumer lending and wealth management platforms, Baidu said in a statement released on Saturday, and other investors include Taikang Group and Agricultural Bank of China International.

Reuters reported in January that Baidu was seeking new investors for its wholly-owned finance unit, in a deal that could fetch up to $2 billion.

“This is another milestone for Baido AI ecosystem after the listing of iQiyi,” Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li said.

TPG, in a separate statement, said together with its co-investors it would invest around $1 billion in the deal, which is expected to close in 2 to 3 months.

Baidu financial services group, launched in 2015 and to be rebranded as Du Xiao Man, had a loan balance of 28 billion yuan ($4.42 billion) at the end of 2017.

$1 = 6.3325 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Clare Jim; editing by Jason Neely

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