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SoftBank to ‘sell Almost All Its Alibaba Stake’

Reuters file photo
SoftBank Group founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, left, and Alibaba founder and former Chairman Jack Ma attend a conference in Tokyo in December 2019.

BEIJING (AFP-Jiji) — Japanese tech investment titan SoftBank has decided to sell nearly all of its stake in Alibaba to limit exposure to China, The Financial Times reported Thursday.

SoftBank was an early investor in the Chinese internet giant founded by Jack Ma but began to offload its shares last year.

According to the report, SoftBank, which once owned 34% of Alibaba, has sold more than $7 billion of its shares since the start of the year through prepaid forward contracts.

Last year, it sold a record $29 billion of shares in the Chinese company, reported the FT.

Like other leading Chinese tech firms, Alibaba has been negatively impacted by a regulatory crackdown on the industry that began in 2020.

That year, Beijing pulled the plug on what would have been a gigantic Hong Kong initial public offering for Alibaba’s digital payment subsidiary Ant Group, just 48 hours before its completion.

Alibaba was then investigated for alleged anticompetitive behavior, and eventually fined a record $2.75 billion.

The company last month launched its most significant organizational restructuring since its founding, splitting its operations into six separate entities.

Chinese authorities seem to have adopted a more conciliatory posture toward the domestic industry in recent months, but uncertainty around the sector remains.