Website of China's Qihoo 360. Photo: Qihoo 360

360 Technology, which disclosed the company’s information for IPO listing in March this year, is reported to have been in consultation with the reverse merger takeover program, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday.

“360 Technology is indeed planning a reverse merger takeover,” said an unnamed insider. “The subject of the company has been already been suspended, but how 360 Technology will enter China’s A shares market remains unknown. It could either be an IPO or a reverse merger takeover,” he told the 21st Century Business Herald.

A reverse merger takeover is the acquisition of a public company by a private company, so that the private company can bypass the lengthy and complex process of going public.

According to the report, 360 Technology, which is planning the reverse merger takeover, and Qihoo 360, China’s largest internet security company which also offers a search service, are not the same company.

360 Technology is the wholly-owned shareholder of Qihoo 360, and has completed a series of capital increases, a renaming and shareholder system reform in March of this year. In the future, Qihoo 360 will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of 360 Technology, the report said.

Qihoo 360 was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2011, but it went unlisted in 2015 and since then it has been looking for IPO opportunities on China’s A-share market.

In the Chinese market, the leading search engine operators are Baidu, Sogou and Qihoo 360.