Chinese Internet TV Consolidation Continues as Alibaba Closes on PPTV Acquisition

Alibaba and Hunan TV are "basically finalizing" a $400 million deal to buy PPTV, according to reports.

China's largest e-commerce group Alibaba and local station Hunan TV have reportedly finalized a $400 million deal to buy PPTV, the latest sign of growing consolidation in the country's internet TV business.

While details remain unconfirmed, and PPTV has denied a deal is close, sources close to the transaction tell The Hollywood Reporter that cash-rich Hunan TV has stumped up the necessary liquidity to make the deal a reality.

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China's Internet video market is crowded and wildly competitive, but recent months have seen very definite signs of consolidation.

In April, the video unit of Baidu, often called the "Chinese Google," bought the Shanghai-based streaming video firm PPS Net TV for between $350 million and $400 million, which made it more serious competition for the online video market leader Youku Toudu.

In March of last year, online video giant Youku acquired rival Toudu in an all-stock deal worth more than $1 billion.

PPTV and its CEO Tao Chuang are staying mum.

"We have noticed related media reports. PPTV is operating independently, well, and we have nothing to announce at present," PPTV told the China Daily newspaper on Wednesday.

Mr Tao said in an interview with the website Sina that the company was still in touch with several companies for possible mergers but it "prefers independent development."

PPTV had said earlier that negations between Alibaba and PPTV had drawn to a close, while some sources believe the whole picture of the deal would not be distinct until late August.