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Meituan Dianping reportedly in talks to buy Mobike

Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Meituan Dianping, a Chinese provider of on-demand services, reportedly is in talks to buy bike-sharing company Mobike for around $3.7 billion, according to Chinese newspaper Caixin. Other local media reports say that the price remains subject to change, and that Didi Chuxing and SoftBank are trying to make a last-second play.

Why it matters: Because this isn't really about Meituan Dianping and Mobike, so much as it is about the battle between Tencent (a major holder in both companies) and Alibaba (which backs rival bike-share company Ofo).

It also could be a very quick and cash-rich return for Mobike shareholders, including many in the U.S., which invested around $1 billion in less than two years.

Looking ahead: A Mobike buy could boost Meituan Dianping's top line ahead of its expected IPO, but also could wreak some havoc on its bottom line.