Chinese Company Plans to Sell its 50% Share in Microsoft Online

A Chinese company that owns half of Microsoft Corp’s online businesses on the Chinese mainland is selling all its stakes as the unit continues to bleed money, according to a filing to a local equity exchange market.

The State-owned Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd, which controls 50 percent of Microsoft Online, said it is selling the stakes for about 230 million yuan ($35 million), according to the filing.

Microsoft Online, formerly known as MSN China, operates various businesses for the United States software giant, including online advertising, video chat platform Skype and Bing the search engine.

The joint venture was set up over a decade ago but found it difficult to remain profitable in recent years.

A financial report sent to the Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange shows the net loss for Microsoft Online was 300 million yuan in December 2015. The company has been in the red since 2013, the earliest year when the statistics are available. The net loss totaled 28 million yuan in that year.

The potential buyer has to be a Chinese mainland registered company with at least 1 billion yuan in net asset by 2014, according to the Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange.

No buyer has yet publicly announced intentions to take over the stakes.

By GAO YUAN Feb. 15, 2016 on China Daily

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