Tencent invests $10.5m in Thai web firm Sanook

Late Friday afternoon it was reported that Chinese internet company Tencent had paid a shade over US$10.5 to acquire 49.92% of Sanook, one of Thailand’s most prominent internet media companies.

The Sanook deal comes days after Tencen’s purchase of Comsenz, a social network and online forum firm in China, which remarkably similar to Sanook – which means ‘fun’ in Thai – which best known for its news site, online services – like shopping – and web boards. 

From the press release posted to Trading Markets:

Tencent Holdings (SEHK: 00700), one of the leading Internet companies in China, has agreed to acquire 2,496 share of Mweb Holdings (Thailand) Limited (Sanook), representing 49.92% of Sanook’s outstanding share capital, and to assume from the vendor a 50% interest in a shareholder loan. Tencent will pay, using its internal resources, the vendor an aggregate purchase price of USD10.501 million.

Sanook aims to be a leading online service provider for Thai consumers with respect to entertainment, information, commerce and community services. Through its operating subsidiaries, Sanook currently engages in a variety of Internet-related businesses, including portal, internet advertising, instant messaging, mobile value-added services, e-commerce, classifieds and casual games.

According to Alexa rankings, Sanook.com is the sixth most visited site on the internet in Thailand, the highest place Thai-language website beaten only by global heavyweights like Google (.com and .co.th), YouTube, Windows Live and Facebook.

 

 

While data from truehits.net puts web traffic to Sanook.com for July 2010 at 2,522,940 and the graphic below shows its traffic over the last 12 months.

 

 

Aside from the website, Sanook.com, the company runs a successful advertising arm which maintains high profile clients and visible across the Thai web space. If a company was considering investing in the Thai internet domain, Sanook is one of the prime targets to be considered.

Following the acquisition of Comsenz the Wall Street Journal commented that:

“Ads on bulletin board system services could help Tencent grow its advertising revenue as the company faces slowing growth in China’s online game sector, where Tencent is a major player, said Macquarie Research analyst Lisa Soh. “I can see how (the acquisition) integrates very nicely into Tencent’s existing revenue line,” Soh said.

The move on Sanook shows Tencent is looking beyond China to grow its revenues across Asia, a strategy which Sanook fits nicely into having a range of different services across the web. Aside from the Sanook and Comsenz investments, Tencent paid US$300 million for a 10% stake in Russia internet firm and Facebook investor Digital Sky Technologies. 

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