Chinese Companies Head for the Exit

HONG KONG–Fed up with slumping share prices, prickly regulators and aggressive short sellers, Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges are increasingly heading for the exits.

The most recent case is also the biggest yet. On Wednesday, the directors of Focus Media Holdings, a display advertising company based in Shanghai, whose shares had come under attack by short-sellers, said they had accepted a sweetened $3.7 billion privatization bid from a buyout group that included the American private equity giant Carlyle Group, several Chinese private equity firms and the company’s chairman.

The deal would delist the company from Nasdaq. It includes $1.5 billion in debt financing from a consortium of Wall Street banks and mainly state-owned Chinese lenders and would rank as China’s biggest-ever leveraged buyout. Pending shareholders’ approval, the company expects the transaction to close in the second quarter of next year.