Cloudary Corp., formerly Shanda Literature, reportedly has secured $110 million in new financing from Goldman Sachs and Temasek. (via Tencent Tech). In mid-2012, Cloudary received $15 million funding from Orbis for a 1.875% stake, thus at a valuation of $800 million. It is reported that the valuation for the latest round is lower than $600 million (in Chinese). (Update: Cloudary announced it on July 9 in Beijing, saying the funding will be used for building an open platform and mobile services)
The China’s largest online literature publishing and distribution platform filed with SEC for IPO on the NYSE in 2011, planning to raised up to $200 million. At the end of 2012, Robert Chiu, former managing director of Merrill Lynch, was introduced as president of Shanda Interactive and chairman of Cloudary, which was taken as a sign that Cloudary would accelerate IPO.
Before the rumored IPO time, the founding team of Qidian.com, the biggest site of Cloudary’s six publishing platforms and the one that created the business model, left Cloudary and built a new one on Tencent’s online media platform.
Established in 2007, Cloudary now is operating six online literature publishing sites and companies for print books, play scripts, copy rights, etc. As authors are the most valuable to Cloudary, it is believed that the left Qidian team will lure away some good ones. Not only was Tencent eying the online reading market and the Cloudary business model, Baidu also launched one, Duoku, last month. Before them, major Chinese online media such as Sina, Sohu and Netease each had built an online publishing service — the same with Qidian’s. Early last month, Sina announced to spin it off and establish a separate company.
Cloudary’s sites had 1.6 million authors and 6 million titles as of March 31, as disclosed in the F-1 it filed in May 2012. It recorded $30.45 million in Q1 2013, with 69% from online publishing and the rest from offline businesses.