Carlyle buys into China’s Ganji.com

The firm has acquired a minority stake in the online advertising business

Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group has acquired a minority interest in China-based advertising business Ganji.com for an undisclosed amount, according to a statement.

Founded in 2005, Ganji.com lists posts a range of listings online, including job recruitment, housing and local services, for over 350 cities in China, mostly for small and medium enterprises, real estate agents and other merchants to connect with customers. 

“Ganji.com is well-positioned to benefit from the evolution of industry digitalisation, high demand for online classifieds and local services, an enormous internet and mobile internet user base as well as an increasingly sophisticated e-commerce culture in China,” Eric Zhang, managing director of Carlyle, said in a statement.

Mark Yang, founder and chief executive officer of Ganji.com, aded, “We are excited to partner with Carlyle, and are confident that this partnership will bring us advanced internet management know-how and global best practices to further develop our businesses, expand merchant base and customer reach, strengthen marketing and channel management, and enhance our company's profile.”

Carlyle has experience in China’s online advertising sector, being one in a consortium of private equity buyers that privatised China’s digital advertising business Focus Media in a $3.7 billion buyout in May last year. The firm had invested $5.2 billion in China over about 80 transactions by 31 March 2014.

The firm made the Ganji.com investment from its Carlyle Asia Partners IV Fund – its latest Asia-dedicated fund that is expected to close this quarter at or above its $3.5 billion target, Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein said on an earnings call earlier. It had raised $1.6 billion by January this year.

Carlyle made its first deal out of the fund in March, buying Korea-based security business ADT Caps in a corporate carve-out transaction that was worth $1.93 billion – Korea’s largest US dollar buyout since 2008, according to the firm.