YY acquires live streaming and short video company Bigo at $1.45b to spur global expansion

Bringing Bigo full circle.

By

YY acquires live streaming and short video company Bigo at $1.45b to spur global expansion

China’s live streaming platform YY completed its acquisition of Singapore-headquartered Bigo on Tuesday, in a move to implement the company’s global expansion.

Nasdaq-listed YY, which already owned 31.7% of Bigo before the deal, purchased the remaining 68.3% stake from shareholders, including YY chairman Li Xueling. The deal price was set at US$1.45 billion.

Bigo was founded by Li himself when he noticed that live-streaming apps were booming—and lucrative—in China, but weren’t prominent in Southeast Asia yet.

Bigo owns Bigo Live, which is a clone of YY outside China with over 225 million users, as well as Like, a short video social platform with global reach. Bigo claims that it has created a video-based online community for young users around the world, with a presence in Southeast and South Asia, the Middle East, and America.

“The combination of YY’s and Bigo’s unparalleled businesses and services in both China and overseas will enable us to create enhanced live streaming content, expand our global footprint, and offer world-class user experiences for our global user community. As a result, we will be well positioned to become a world leading video-based social media platform,” said Li.

YY also announced its 2018 full-year financial results on Tuesday, which showed the company’s non-GAAP net income as RMB 3.2 billion (US$464.9 million), an 18.4% increase from RMB 2.7 billion in 2017.

Li attributed the momentum of YY’s growth to a healthy expansion of the company’s loyal and highly engaged live streaming community. In the fourth quarter of 2018, the platform’s monthly active users increased by 18.1% to 90.4 million compared to one year prior, and the number of paying users shot up by 36.6% to 8.9 million in the same period.

He also described the company’s initial foray into the global market as generating “encouraging results” in 2018. HAGO—a social networking platform developed by YY that woos casual gamers in 33 countries and regions, and has 20.9 million monthly active users—became the most popular application in Apple’s App Store and Google Play in its primary markets, namely Indonesia and Vietnam, in the fourth quarter of last year.

After the announcement of YY’s acquisition of Bigo and the company’s financial results, the price of YY shares rose 4.32% in after-hours trading, from US$72.04 to $75.15.

YY’s share price has gone up by 20.35% since the start of this year, giving the company a market capitalization of US$4.5 billion.