Baidu in talks to acquire online video firm PPS Net TV

China's largest search engine is reportedly buying PPS Net TV in a deal worth US$350-US$400 million, which will ramp up its push into the online video space.

Baidu is reportedly in the process of acquiring Chinese online video firm PPS Net TV for between US$350-US$400 million, building up a push into the area after taking a majority stake in its loss-making online video unit, iQiyi, last year.

China Business News cited unnamed sources that once acquired, PPS and iQiyi will continue to operate as independent brands, but will share back-end technical integration, according to a Reuters report Thursday.

PPS offers videos such as movies and TV series from around the world, which are accessible through its software or Web-based application.

In response to ZDNet's queries, a Baidu spokesperson declined to comment on the "rumor".

PPS Net TV offers free access to various videos, movies and TV shows over its ad-supported software and site.

The news follows the merger between market leaders Youku and Tudou last year to form China's largest online video company.

Dele Liu, president of Youku Tudou, said in a statement in response to reports of Baidu's deal: "After the success and synergy created by the Youku-Tudou merger, increasing consolidation was inevitable throughout the video industry. We are happy to see this purchase go forward, we expect this acquisition will further rationalize the industry and help reduce piracy in the sector."

Baidu was in the news earlier this week, as a victim of a bogus press release, which claimed it was buying online games giant Zynga .