MALAYSIA’S car marketplace iCar Asia has received a takeover proposal from Chinese online car platform Autohome Inc to acquire 100 per cent of its shares at A$0.50 cash per share, or approximately A$215.7 million (S$207.4 million) based on the number of outstanding shares.

iCar Asia, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, told the market on Friday that it had received a non-binding, conditional proposal from Autohome to buy the company, which is subject to negotiation and signing of transaction documentation, Australia’s foreign investment review board approval, as well as approval from iCar Asia’s shareholders and the court.

If given the go-ahead, this acquisition could take the company private, The Business Times understands.

The outcome of the deal largely rests on the decision of iCar Asia’s largest shareholder, Catcha Group, which effectively holds about 27.9 per cent of the company. Catcha Group’s co-founder and chief executive officer Patrick Grove had also co-founded iCar Asia in 2012.

Car classifieds platform, iCar Asia’s second-largest shareholder with an 11.7 per cent stake, had attempted a similar bid around five years ago but did not reach an agreement on the price and terms. Market chatter suggests that the platform might make a second bid for iCar Asia following Autohome’s buyout offer.

Shares of iCar Asia jumped A$0.105 or 31.8 per cent to A$0.435 as at 12.05pm on Friday. The company now has a market cap of about A$142.4 million.

iCar Asia in its first half this year had sunk deeper into the red, as its net loss widened to A$6.1 million from A$5.6 million a year ago. The group’s two largest revenue markets – Malaysia and Thailand – however remained both Ebitda and cash-flow positive for the first half of 2020, it said.

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In Q2 2020, its net cash used in operating activities rose to A$3.8 million compared to A$3.5 million over the same period a year ago. This narrowed in Q3 to A$1 million.



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