Alibaba-backed Best to sell China express delivery business in $1.1 billion deal

(Reuters) -Alibaba-backed Best Inc said on Friday it would sell its express delivery business in China to J&T Express Co. Ltd in a deal valued at about 6.8 billion yuan ($1.06 billion), including debt, sending its shares up 22% before the bell.

Shares of New York-listed Best were set to open at $2.58, their highest level since February. They have risen 3.4% this year.

Best said the sale does not include its Supply Chain Management, Freight, Ucargo and Global businesses.

“In light of the unexpected ongoing challenges from COVID-19 and evolving industry dynamics, we believe this transaction allows us to better capitalize on our strengths by focusing on supply chain-based logistics solutions,” Best Chief Executive Johnny Chou said.

The logistics firm estimates it can get about $600 million from the sale that is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

Reuters had reported in January that Best was considering selling itself as part of a strategic review.

($1 = 6.3964 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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