Baidu sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai
Image Credit: REUTERS

Baidu Inc.'s bid to acquire Joyy Inc.'s live-streaming business for China has lapsed, dealing a blow to the search engine giant's advances into the digital video arena.

The Beijing-based company said its $3.6 billion deal for Joyy's YY Live has expired three years after it was unveiled because regulators did not approve the transaction by December 31, according to a Monday filing to the exchange. The deal was previously slated to close in the first half of 2021.

Moon SPV, an affiliate of Baidu, terminated its share purchase agreement with Joyy because certain conditions had not been met, including "obtaining necessary regulatory approvals from authorities," the statement said.

Baidu first announced the acquisition in November 2020 as part of a strategy to broaden its content offerings to better diversify its revenue. That approach has become less relevant over the past year as the tech industry's focus has turned to generative artificial intelligence, in which Baidu has been seen as an early domestic leader.

The setback marks another challenge for Baidu's efforts to catch up with upstarts such as ByteDance Ltd. in the online entertainment arena, after its relatively late start in newer spheres like live-streaming. Joyy was one of the pioneers of Chinese live-streaming and its networks for live-streaming games and sharing videos attracted 1.61 million paying users globally. The company's China-based revenue reached $236 million in the first nine months of 2023.