Sogou CEO Wang Xiaochuan recently said publicly that Sogou or listed in the United States this year, is expected to valuation of 40 billion -50 billion US dollars, but has yet to hire investment banking arrangements related issues. According to Wang Xiaochuan's plan, will give out 10% to 12% of the shares in circulation, IPO fund-raising will be mainly used for artificial intelligence and machine learning investment. However, the official said Sogou, there is no specific timetable.
Recently, around the Sogou whether the listing of the controversy around. Sogou performance has hit the ceiling, missed the best time to market; the other hand, Sohu to deny the IPO news, and as a 45% stake held by the largest shareholder of Sogou Tencent also did not express their views, but also to Sogou Listing the prospect of confusing.
The interests of the three game
According to third-party data statistics, Sogou is currently second only to Baidu, is China's market share of the second search engine manufacturers, is currently the largest input method manufacturers. Over the past few years, Sogou and Tencent have completed the integration, open up WeChat public content resources search, to know the investment, access will be English academic search, the gradual introduction of differentiated search business and to artificial intelligence to seek new development Expand the competitive advantage.
Although Wang Xiaochuan said in a public interview hope Sogou listing this year, the desire to the United States, but the current Sogou ownership structure, in order to achieve the listing, I am afraid more of Sohu's "face".
Documents show that as of June 30, 2016, Sogou held a total of 334670182 shares of common stock and preferred stock, which holds 131697750 shares of Sohu A common stock, including 4484500 shares may be the Sohu management and core backbone in certain conditions Under the repurchase, the current proportion of Sohu Sogou holds 38.35%; Sohu's chairman and CEO Zhang Zhaoyang investment principal Photon Group Limited holds 32000000 shares of Class A preferred stock, Photon holds Sogou equity ratio of 9.56%; Tencent There are 6757875 Class A ordinary shares, holding 65431579 Class B preferred shares, and the other holding 79368421 shares of non-voting class B ordinary shares; Tencent currently holds a 45% stake in Sogou. Sogou and Sohu's core backbone holding 19414557 shares of Class A common stock, holdings of 5.8%.
Tencent, although the shareholding ratio of 45%, but because of its holdings of more than half of the shares of non-voting class B common stock, so the voting rights and Sohu (Sohu holds all the voting rights of Class A ordinary Share), Sohu is still the practical sense of the Sogou controlling shareholder.
In other words, Sogou can be listed and Sohu is nodding; listing of the biggest winners will be Tencent; and the actual completion of the IPO, the team is entirely dependent on the operation of Wang Xiaochuan. According to the current situation, the final outcome depends on the interests of the parties to the game.
Qingdao US-day Network Technology Co., Ltd. CEO Han Jingkui said Wang Xiaochuan's voice is certainly no problem, he allows two bosses to accept such a sacrifice part of the short-term interests of the structure itself, it shows him in this matter In the strong position.
And Baidu gap is not small
In the industry have sarcastic Sogou owed to his girlfriend Wang Xiaochuan finally also on the (Wang Xiaochuan has sworn Sogou not listed, do not find a girlfriend) at the same time, leaving the sogou listing opportunity is not much.
It is reported that, as early as the end of 2013, Sogou Tencent $ 488 million investment and merged Tencent Soso resources, Sogou began to enter the revenue and market share of the sustained growth stage, and in the third quarter of 2014 revenue exceeded 100 million Dollar, compared with the then micro-Bo and Cheetah in the performance of revenue are good. Although the industry was rumored Sogou upcoming IPO, but Sogou has no action.
According to Sogou 2015 results show that its full-year 2015 revenue of nearly 40 billion yuan, an increase of 53.4%; net profit of more than 670 million yuan, nearly 3 times in 2014.
In the first quarter of 2016, Sogou revenue reached 955 million yuan, an increase of 35%; net profit of 143 million yuan, an increase of 42%. In the second quarter, Sogou revenue reached 1.15 billion yuan, an increase of 27%; net profit to 220 million yuan, an increase of 30%. The third quarter, revenue of 1.11 billion yuan, an increase of 9%, faster than industry growth.
Judging from the performance of previous years, the third quarter of the search business should be the peak season. In 2014, Sogou third quarter ring than the second quarter growth of 16.4%; 2015, Sogou third quarter than the second quarter growth of 11.6%. However, this happened last year, subtle changes. Data show that Sogou 2016 third-quarter operating income ring than the second quarter, instead of falling, it is not normal.
It is reported that Sogou made a long time ago three rocket theory, input method, browser, search a class to promote. In fact, the real can give Sogou bring most of the income or search advertising.
Report data show that search dog growth momentum, as Baidu's most powerful challenger. Industry analysts believe that Sogou search this year, strong growth, leveraging content differentiation strategy successful break, in a new wave of artificial intelligence, Sogou with "natural interaction + knowledge computing" driven artificial intelligence technology-driven, will The search market competition in a strong contender.
Reporter noted that Wang Xiaochuan said during the year listed in the plan, but also made the next stage of Sogou goal to 3 years in the mobile search business tying Baidu.
However, from the current point of view, the gap between the two is not small. According to StatCounter's latest data show that in December 2016 the domestic search engine market Baidu to 79.07% share, overwhelmingly occupy the first throne. The industry said that you want to dominate the field from Baidu to complete the counter-attack, not easy.
"The future of search is the pearl of the era of artificial intelligence, search the future will go to the Q & A robot; and input method will also automatically Q & A and intelligent response." Sogou mission is to express and obtain information more simple, the future we will search the dog search and Sogou input method, the realization of more human-computer interaction technology breakthroughs and product innovation. "Wang Xiaochuan said.
Finance analyst Li Yongliang that the next 5-10 years, artificial intelligence will be the same as the integration of water and electricity to life. As a high-level means of human-computer interaction, voice input and semantic understanding has always been higher than the keyboard, touch screen super experience. The future around the entrance of the application areas will emerge in an endless stream of profits for the company to open up a huge space for development.
Valuation is too high to cause hot
In fact, on the mobile search traffic, China's Internet penetration rate has reached 50%, the future can not expect the number of Internet users to re-emergence of large growth, search traffic growth driver than previously weakened.
In this regard, Wang Xiaochuan to Sogou anchored 40 billion -50 billion valuation also appears to be some "dazzling". Some analysts pointed out that Sogou selected listed on the subject of the business model is most similar 360 and search engine field, the largest rival Baidu, but the valuation of $ 5 billion search dog is too high is questionable.
At present, Sogou to three major products, the official number of browser users on the billions of million; number of 5.22 million users of input method, the monthly active up to 2.36 million; search mobile-side number of active users on the 560 million. Sogou is currently placed in front of the most realistic problem is liquidity.
Han Jingkui pointed out that the input method as a tool, the conversion cost is not too high, so Sogou can not say that the absolute peace of mind. On the contrary, the input method is also a very weak basic business, although the high utilization rate, the ability to import traffic is relatively poor.
Not only that, the recent listing or IPO have announced the Internet companies are facing such a problem, not only has a large number of users, but faces the problem of profitability.
For example, according to the latest iResearch data show that, as of October 2016, love the odd art of APP live up to 470 million. In particular, more than 20 million of which paid membership, but also to the future growth of love Fantastic Art brings unlimited imagination. But Baidu in the privatization of love Fantastic Art out of the price is only 2.8 billion US dollars.
Similarly, with nearly 500 million monthly active users Meitu Xiu Xiu in the liquidity capacity is also very inadequate, the first half of 2016, Mito Xiu Xiu's advertising revenue of only 25.9 million yuan.
In addition, Sogou's parent company Sohu market value is currently only $ 1.4 billion, on the other hand, Sogou on the target 360 in the last quarter before the end of the quarterly revenue reached $ 438 million, net profit reached 117 million US dollars, Income and long-term profit growth on the basis of 360 times the US stock market value is only 9.5 billion US dollars. Then the revenue data is only 360 one-third and into the plight of the Sogou want to get 50 billion valuation is undoubtedly difficult.
For now, whether it is artificial intelligence, internationalization, or other business development, advertising revenue in addition to still not find new growth point is currently the biggest problem Sogou distress.
According to Analysys data, Sogou search revenue is 5% -8% of Baidu, AI input is mainly focused on speech recognition, the accuracy rate of 97%, and Baidu and HKUST fly to the same level . Sogou input method based on the huge user base, the company may be the future of AI technology for more Sogou products attached to enhance the monetization of the scene.
"It now appears that Sogou AI in terms of research results and monetization capacity remains to be verified. BOCOM International further pointed out.