Baidu Inc., China’s largest search engine, said Friday that they had received a non-binding acquisition bid for their $2.8 billion USD bid video streaming business iQiyi led by Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Yanhong Li and iQiyi CEO Yu Gong.

The executives offered to acquire Baidu’s entire 80.5 percent stake in the company, formerly known as Qiyi, fueling speculation that the company is being ripened for IPO.

In May 2014 CEO Yu Gong told Bloomberg that the company planned to IPO within the next three years, giving them a loose deadline of mid-2017. The latest centralization of ownership within the Baidu family could be the first sign that the process is underway.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com