Meituan Acquires AI Startup Light Years Beyond for $234M After Founder’s Resignation

  • Meituan is acquiring Guangnian Zhi Wai (Light Years Beyond), a 4-month-old AI startup, founded by its co-founder Wang Huiwen, for $233.7 million cash along with absorbing its $50.66 million debt.
  • Wang Huiwen recently resigned from his corporate roles at Meituan citing health reasons. Meituan would compensate the AI startup’s investors, which sums up to the overall cash transaction.
  • According to the filing, Light Years Beyond had net cash of around $285 million, suggesting the acquisition is effectively at no cost to Meituan; lack of product and slow progress might have resulted from soaring AI chips costs and Wang’s diagnosis of depression.
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