New-Wave Investment Holding Company Ltd, the company controlled by SINA president and CEO Charles Chao, bought the shares with backing from Sequoia Capital, FountainVest Partners and CITIC Capital Holdings Ltd.
“The closing of the $180 million private equity financing marks a historical moment at SINA. For the first time since its IPO in 2000, the largest shareholder of SINA is a SINA management-controlled entity,” stated Chao. “I am delighted that all key members of SINA’s management have contributed to the private equity financing, even though participation was purely voluntary. This is a reflection of a strong commitment by our management team to SINA’s future and further aligns the interest of management with SINA’s other shareholders.”
SINA states that the funds will be used for “future acquisitions and general corporate purposes”.
SINA merged its online real estate advertising business with China Real Estate Information Corporation to form what it calls “the largest online and offline real estate information and consulting platform in China” in October this year.
SINA explains that its real estate portal lists properties for sale and rent, and also features maps, forums, and how-to guides.
The Wall Street Journal points out that because SINA relies heavily on cyclical online advertising, the onset of the global financial crisis hurt its performance.
According to the company’s third quarter financial results, net advertising revenues are up 10 percent from last quarter to $63.8 million, however this is still down 16 percent from the same quarter last year.