Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says it will not sell shares in Ant’s buyback program

01:29 PM Jul 24, 2023 | PTI |

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says it does not plan to sell any shares in its one-third shareholding in financial technology company Ant Group because it wants to retain its stake in an “important strategic partner.” Alibaba Group Holdings said in a filing Sunday that it will not participate in Ant’s share buyback program.


It allows shareholders to sell back up to 7.6 per cent of their holdings at an unspecified price that values the company at 567.1 billion yuan (USD 78.8 billion).

Ant, which operates one of China’s leading mobile payments services Alipay, has seen its valuation fall nearly 70 per cent from about USD 280 billion (USD 38.9 billion) at the time it was planning an IPO in 2020.

That was derailed by regulators who conducted an investigation into the firm and then fined it nearly USD 100 billion for violating laws and regulations in the payments sector.

Given the plunge in Ant’s valuation, investors who sell their shares to Ant will likely get far less than they would have gotten in 2020.


“Given that Ant Group continues to be an important strategic partner to Alibaba Group’s various businesses, Alibaba Group has decided that it will not sell any shares to Ant Group under the proposed share repurchase, so as to maintain its shareholding in Ant Group,” Alibaba said in the filing.

Alibaba had said earlier that it might sell shares during the program. Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings also said it was considering selling some of its shares.

Founded by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, Ant Group’s Alipay is the primary payment method on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall e-commerce platforms. It serves over a billion users.

Alibaba earlier this year split its businesses into six business groups to try to increase shareholder value.

It plans to spin off those businesses into companies that could eventually go public and raise funding.

In May, Alibaba said that its cloud unit, headed by Alibaba’s former CEO Daniel Zhang, is expected to list within a year.


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