2 Dec 2009 13:34

Soufan to launch IPO pending Telstra's departure

Beijing. December 2. INTERFAX-CHINA - Chinese real-estate information portal SouFun Holdings Ltd. will undergo major changes as it prepares to list on an international stock exchange in 2010, including the departure of its major shareholder, the Australian telecom operator Telstra, a SouFun source told Interfax on Dec. 2.

The SouFun source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Telstra's forfeiture of its 51 percent stake is the first step in SouFun's initial public offering (IPO) plan.

Telstra paid $254 million to acquire a controlling stake in SouFun, which equals less than 1 percent of its total assets. Telstra is currently under new management and facing pressure from the Australian government to restructure its business, which led SouFun's chief executive office, Mo Tianquan, to persuade the operator to give up its share, according to the source.

The source said that it is not yet known to which party Telstra's shares will be sold, or which international stock exchange SouFun will list on, but that the Hong Kong, New York exchanges are possible destinations.

SouFun was founded in 1999 and currently has four major investors - International Data Group Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Trader Classified Media N.V. and Telstra.