Google Inc said it has sold its stake in Chinese rival Baidu.com (
Google registered to sell all of the 749,625 shares of Beijing-based Baidu.com Inc it owns, according to a Tuesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The filer of such a document is granted permission to sell the shares within 90 days after the registration.
Google snapped up about 2.6 percent of Baidu.com's outstanding Class A ordinary shares for approximately US$5 million prior to the Chinese search engine's initial public offering last year.
The shares are valued at more than US$60 million, based on Baidu.com's current stock price.
Baidu.com, often called the ``Chinese Google,'' went public last August. Its US depositary shares hit a high of US$151.31 on their first day of trading, up from the IPO price of US$27 each. The shares fell to a low of US$44.44 each on Feb. 6.
In related news, Google started offering commercial videos online for free to attract more users and advertisers seeking to reach them.
The videos, including episodes of The Charlie Rose Show and films such as Billy the Kid, are available for free and are sponsored by advertisers, Google said today on its Web site.
Google started selling television shows online in January, charging users a fee for each episode. The free videos usually sell from US$0.30 to US$14.99, Google said.
The free videos are displayed alongside a small text ad and the logo of the sponsor. Initial sponsors include computer-maker Hewlett-Packard Co, online video rental site Netflix Inc and Burger King Holdings Inc, the second-biggest US hamburger chain.
Users can also click to see video advertisements from the sponsors. Google is only making a selection of its videos available for free. Shows such as CBS Corp's Survivor still cost US$1.99 an episode.
Making shows available for free may spark new competition for Apple Computer Inc's iTunes Music Store, which began selling videos online in October.
Apple charges US$1.99 per episode for shows such as Desperate Housewives, made by Walt Disney Co's ABC.
Google's move, reported yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, highlights how media companies are searching for workable business models to sell video content online.
Disney, the second-biggest US media company, in April announced a test for making primetime ABC shows available online for free.
The shows are funded by advertising that users aren't able to skip.
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