Alibaba founder Jack Ma delays plans to trim stake after stock selloff

Bloomberg | | Posted by Singh Rahul Sunilkumar

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma is walking back plans to trim his stake after the Chinese e-commerce heavyweight suffered its biggest selloff in more than a year last week.

Founder and Chairman of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Jack Ma(REUTERS)

Ma has not sold a single share in Alibaba, as the stock price has not reached the level the billionaire was seeking, according to an internal memo from the company’s Chief People Officer Jane Jiang Fang viewed by Bloomberg News. Ma is confident in the ecommerce leader’s future, the memo read. Several Chinese media outlets including The Paper reported the news earlier.

The 59-year-old Ma’s plans to sell 10 million shares worth about $870 million on Nov. 21 became public in regulatory filings last week. The disclosure coincided with the company announcing it’s scrapped plans to spin off its $11 billion cloud business, and the combined effect was a $22 billion drop in market value in a single day.

Escalating US-China technological rivalry is forcing a reset in Alibaba’s strategy, casting doubt on its attempts to rebound from an industrywide crackdown in China and fight off scrappy new entrants such as ByteDance Ltd.’s Douyin.

“Ma’s office has issued a statement saying that Ma will continue to hold onto his Alibaba stake. This is a fact and not mere lip service,” Jiang said in the note. “Alibaba’s current price is significantly lower than its real value so he will not sell.” The billionaire believes that the value of Alibaba’s businesses will increase, she said.

Ma’s family office needed funds to invest in agricultural enterprises and charities in China and elsewhere, and made arrangements with a broker earlier this year for a share sale at a price set in August, Jiang said. The broker was not aware that the disclosure of the sale agreement would come on the same day as the company’s financial results, she said.

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