Qihoo responds to Citron allegations

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 06, 2011 11:59 AM
Qihoo responds to Citron allegations

(Reuters) - China's Qihoo 360 Technology Co denied once again a report that alleged the online services provider was either committing fraud or was misleading Wall Street about its revenue model.

Qihoo described the report by Citron Research, an online stock commentary website, as factually incorrect and based on speculation.

The report from December 5 expanded on allegations first published earlier last month.

In its latest article, Citron alleged, among other things, that Qihoo was inflating the number of paid advertising links on its website and had also bloated the revenue numbers it earned from each user who played games on its website.

The online research firm alleged that Qihoo had no more than 60-65 paid advertising links, which it estimated by comparing Qihoo's site to rival websites' models, as well as from data from a Wall Street brokerage.

In response, Beijing-based Qihoo, which has a market value of about $2 billion, said there were a total of 125 to 130 paid links on its website, which it charges on a per-link basis and not on a per-customer basis, as Citron had assumed.

Therefore, certain customer's multiple links which are on the page were not duplicates, the company said, citing the elimination of such links in Citron's article.

Qihoo also said its web games were not massively multiplayer like those of competitors -- that generate lower revenue per user -- as assumed by Citron.

Shares of the company rose 5 percent to $18.45 in Tuesday morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. They have fallen 40 percent since the beginning of the year.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Kurian)