Legal Case Pending As Telstra Banks $1.8bn Profit On Autohome
Telstra has pushed through the sale of its 47.4 per cent stake in China’s largest automotive Web site, Autohome, for US$1.6 billion ($2.1bn), despite ongoing legal action taken in the Cayman Islands seeking to stop the sale.
Autohome CEO James Zhi Qin in April launched a campaign to stop the telco from selling its stake to Chinese insurer Ping An. Qin was heading a group also seeking to acquire Autohome and had bid of US$31.50 a share for Telstra’s holding, trumping Ping An’s $29.55 offer – but the offer was rejected by Telstra.
Qin and a number of minority shareholders launched legal action in the Caymans – where Autohome is registered – in May, alleging misconduct by Telstra and its directors on the board of Autohome. It claimed Telstra had sidelined independent directors to rush through the sale.
Telstra bought 55 percent of Autohome’s parent company in 2008 for $76 million, and with its sale of the holding for $2.1 billion, is banking a profit of $1.8 billion – most of which it says will be returned to Telstra shareholders.