Shanda plans further acquisitions

Quarterly results beat analysts' forecasts

SHANGHAI/NEW YORK -- China's leading Internet firm Shanda Interactive Entertainment aims to buy more digital entertainment platforms and game content developers to diversify its revenue stream.

Shanda, which spun off its online games unit Shanda Games in September, is keen to use its $1.6 billion cash pile on more acquisitions, company executives told investors in a conference call on Monday after it unveiled its results.

"We will consider to acquire more game content developers and other digital entertainment content players," said Grace Wu, Shanda's chief financial officer.

The company's spin off of its core online game unit in a $1 billion IPO came as it tries to shed its roots as an online game company and position itself as a full-fledged entertainment firm.
Shanda Games operates "Legend of Mir," a popular multi-player online role-playing game and "Aion" in China.

Shanda Games competes with NetEase and Tencent Holdings in China's increasingly competitive gaming landscape, as well as Ltd., a videogame company spun off from Internet portal

GIC, Singapore's biggest sovereign wealth fund, said in November it bought a 5.4% stake in Shanda Games.

Last month, Shanda said it will set up a joint venture with a Chinese television company with an investment of 600 million yuan ($88 million) to produce and distribute movies. The music production unit of Shanda, Hurray! Holding said last week it will buy Chinese video-sharing website Ku6 in a stock transaction.

Some analysts including Alan Hellawell from Deutsche Bank said Shanda's core games unit is still likely to be the money-spinning unit for Shanda.

Earlier, Shanda reported a 29% rise in third quarter net profit to 435 million yuan ($64 million).
Earnings per American Depositary Share came in at 90 cents. Analysts had on average expected 88 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters. It was not immediately clear if the two figures were entirely comparable.

Shanda Games contributed 92% of Shanda's revenue in the quarter. The unit's revenue and gross profit rose 45% driven by strong user growth.

Total revenue for the group in the quarter was 1.38 billion yuan versus 936.5 million yuan.

China, with more than 69 million online gamers, is expected to corner more than 40% of a global market which is estimated to be worth more than $13 billion by 2011, according to Samsung Securities.

Shanda shares, which rose 1.0% in after-hours trade, have risen about 54% this year.