JD.com agreed to sell its finance arm for 14.3 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion) in cash while retaining a share of its future profits, part of a deal to spin off the fast-growing division and create a strong rival to billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial.
The sale and spin-off of JD Finance, will be completed by the middle of 2017. It will be able to move more aggressively as a separate unit, and respond to challenges from Alibaba’s Ant Financial, which is considering a public offering in China.
JD.com will retain access to 40% of future JD Finance profits even though it loses control of the unit. The company did not disclose investors in JD Finance but confirmed that they are a mix of old and new investors.
On the other hand, JD.com posted a 47% increase in fourth-quarter revenue, sparked by strong sales during the holiday shopping period late last year. Revenue for the period ended in December came in at 80.3 billion yuan, surpassing the e-commerce company’s own forecast of 75 billion to 77.5 billion yuan.