Alibaba buys China's 'YouTube' for $3.6 billion

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Alibaba is getting serious about its video ambitions.

The online shopping giant is buying China's YouTube-like service Youku Tudou (YOKU) in an all-cash deal that values the company at $4.4 billion.

Alibaba (BABA) first invested in the site in 2014, paying $30.50 per share for just over 18% of the New York-listed company.

It's now buying the remaining 82% for $3.6 billion, or $27.60 per share. The Chinese online retailer first offered to buy Youku in October.

Alibaba is expected to take the company private after the deal is finalized.

Youku is among the most popular video sites in China. It claims to have 580 million monthly unique visitors.

Related: Jack Ma wishes Alibaba never went public

Youku's founder, Victor Koo, will continue to lead the business as chairman and chief executive officer.

"Youku Tudou's future as the leading multi-screen entertainment and media platform in China has been firmly secured," Koo said.

Alibaba, which started as an e-commerce company, is trying to tap into China's fast growing market for digital media.

It has invested in, one of the biggest local music service providers, and took control of film production company ChinaVision Media last year.

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