Australia-based Telstra has appointed Cynthia Whelan as new chairman of Autohome.com.cn, a Chinese automobile website.
Autohome's former chairman Timothy Chen resigned on May 6, 2016; however, he will continue to be a consultant of the company.
In 2008, Telstra acquired a 55% stake in Autohome. On April 15, 2016, the Australian telecom company announced that they would sell 47.7% of Autohome shares to Ping An for USD1.6 billion. However, a few hours after the announcement, Autohome's executives raised a go-private proposal. The buyer group was led by Autohome's CEO Qin Zhi and its executives, and participants included Boyu Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Hillhouse Capital. They planned to complete the privatization at the price of USD31.5 per ADS.
At that time, Telstra did not disclose the detailed reason for the sale of the stake and the company only said that it was the best time to reap the return of its investment in Autohome. However, the company recently said in public that the USD1.6 billion from the sales of stake was to prepare for its USD1.1 billion annual dividend to shareholders.