3721 Acquisition Rumors Resurface, Global Portal Looking At 3721 For Search Growth

China's eTime Weekly is reporting that an unnamed international portal will acquire 3721 for over US$100M and enter the China market by year-end. China portal CEOs vehemently denied being in acquisition talks with with domain registrar and Real Names technology portal 3721 earlier this week. With Sina and Google confirming a search partnership Wednesday there are not too many "international portals" left that can throw $100 million around. 3721's crown jewels are its 4,000 channel partners, a network built up over the past two years that industry watchers think will be key in any China market portal entry. 3721 generated 140 million Yuan revenues in 2002 and 200 million in the first half of 2003. Cash reserves sit at around 50 million Yuan. Gross profit target this year is 60 million Yuan (Channels take between 60-70% of profits). Following Sina, Sohu, and Tom CEOs denying acquisition talks, Chinese media reports suggested 3721 was ramping up for an IPO on the Singapore Stock Exchange. JAFCO and IDGVC are both investors in 3721.