Amidst a storm of investor distaste for U.S.-listed Chinese equities, and with its shares trading at a fresh 5-year low earlier this year, AsiaInfo-Linkage, Inc. (ASIA) followed the precedent of numerous other Chinese companies in announcing it had received a “Go-Private” proposal on January 20, 2012.
From the very beginning, the announcement was vague and specified only that the offer was “at a premium” over the current stock price. ASIA’s shares had closed at $8.60 two days prior, but leapt to a high of $12.50 following the announcement and settled at $11.78. Investors breathed a sigh of relief that Citic Capital China Partners was named as a potential partner in the transaction. Today, after more than 9 months, and no deal even remotely close to being announced, investors are ascribing an irrational hope and probability that their shares will be purchased for anything close to the current price of $10.50. Given the weak fundamental backdrop in the China telecom and IT services market, concerns about the company’s VIE structure, close scrutiny by the SEC, and potential for its financials to be overstated, a fair value target for ASIA’s stock price is $6.50 per share.