Alibaba plans to raise $5 bn amid antitrust probe & Jack Ma’s speculated disappearance

According to Reuters, China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to raise at least $5 billion through the sale of a U.S. dollar-denominated bond this month, four people with knowledge of the matter said, amid regulatory scrutiny of co-founder Jack Ma’s empire.

Depending on investor response, proceeds could reach $8 billion which Alibaba is likely to use for general corporate expenditure, one of the people said.

The plan, including the timeline, is not final and subject to change, the people said, declining to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Alibaba declined to comment, Reuters stated.

Since Ma’s speech, Chinese regulators have begun an antitrust probe into Alibaba and ordered fintech Ant to change its lending and other consumer finance businesses, including the creation of a holding company to meet capital requirements.

Regulators are also reviewing Ant’s equity investments in dozens of companies and considering whether to instruct the firm to divest of some, Reuters reported last month.

Alibaba’s international bond offering, if finalized, would be the group’s third, Refinitiv data showed. It sold an $8 billion U.S. dollar bond in 2014 and a $7 billion tranche in 2017.

With its latest float, Alibaba will join a slew of Asian companies that in recent months have taken advantage of cheaper borrowing costs and abundant liquidity in global markets.

The terms of the offering were not immediately known. Two of the people said marketing documents were likely to be available as soon as next week, and that the tenure of the bond is likely to be 10 years.

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