CFIUS Scuttles BlueFocus' Plan to Restructure U.S. Digital Marketing Firm Cogint

CFIUS Scuttles BlueFocus' Plan to Restructure U.S. Digital Marketing Firm Cogint

Tang Shihua

Date: Fri, 02/23/2018 - 18:00 / source:Yicai
CFIUS Scuttles BlueFocus' Plan to Restructure U.S. Digital Marketing Firm Cogint
CFIUS Scuttles BlueFocus' Plan to Restructure U.S. Digital Marketing Firm Cogint

(Yicai Global) Feb. 23 -- BlueFocus Communication Group Co. has opted to abandon its plan to restructure US digital marketing firm Cogint Inc. after it failed to get approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS).

After friendly talks with Cogint, the company decided to withdraw its application for the acquisition and terminate the buyout, the well-known Chinese brand management and marketing service solutions provider said yesterday, but without citing specifics as to why CFIUS balked, though the committee has in recent years become stricter in its review of Chinese investments.

CFIUS is mainly responsible for reviewing and investigating foreign investments in U.S. businesses and resolving national security issues arising from such transactions. These reviews can be subjective, however, and the concept of national security has no clear definition and is rife with uncertainty, public information suggests. The company will continue to strengthen its cooperation with Cogint at the business level and actively seek more suitable data and technical partners, per its statement.

The Cogint restructuring plan BlueFocus announced in September envisaged the Beijing-based A-share listed firm investing USD100 million in cash via its wholly-owned Hong Kong unit and two affiliated companies under the Hong Kong subsidiary, in return for a 63 percent stake in the reorganized Cogint, while the shareholdings of the latter’s existing shareholders were to attenuate to 37 percent. Cogint's core subsidiary, Fluent LLC, is a digital marketing services company that delivers highly-targeted marketing services by precisely tailoring them to its audience. However, IDI Holdings LLC, another Cogint unit, has suffered losses for years. The restructuring objective was to prunethe loss-making subsidiary from the company’s assets, BlueFocus said in September. 

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Keywords: M&A, Government Regulator, U.S., CFIUS, Public Relations, Cogint, Bluefocus Communication Group