Ninetowns shares jump after CEO-led buyout offer

NEW YORK -- Shares of China's Ninetowns Internet Technology Group Co. jumped on Friday after the company said it had received a preliminary, non-binding proposal from a group including the chief executive to take the company private.

The group members currently own 10.3 million, or 26.8 percent, of the company's outstanding shares and are proposing to but the rest of the shares for $1.80 to $2 per share in cash.

The company said its board had formed a committee to consider the proposal.

Shares leapt 67 cents, or 62 percent, to $1.75 in afternoon trading Friday.

The company said the group consists of CEO Shuang Wang, Min Dong, Xiaoguang Ren, Kin Fai Ng, Bolin Wu, Zhonghai Xu, Tommy Siu Lun Fork and their affiliates.

The group said they would form an acquisition vehicle. The transaction is intended to be financed in part with cash on the company books.

"Our offer provides a highly attractive opportunity to the company's shareholders to realize superior value," the group said in its proposal. "We believe that the transaction is in the best interest of the company and its public shareholders and our offer would be welcomed by them."

The special committee formed to study the proposal consists of independent directors Martin Cheung, Da Chun Zhang and Mark Ming Hsun Lee.