Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced that it will not be selling any shares in its one-third shareholding in financial technology company Ant Group. This decision is motivated by the desire to maintain its stake in an “important strategic partner.”
Ant Group, which operates China’s leading mobile payments service Alipay, has experienced a significant decline in valuation. Its worth has plummeted nearly 70% from around $280 billion to $78.8 billion due to regulatory investigations and fines amounting to approximately $100 billion. These actions by regulators disrupted Ant Group’s plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2020.
Despite the option for shareholders to sell up to 7.6% of their holdings to Ant Group under a share buyback program, Alibaba will not be participating. The company aims to preserve its shareholding in Ant Group.
Alibaba, co-founded by Jack Ma, views Ant Group as a critical strategic partner for its various businesses. As a result, Alibaba has made the strategic decision to retain its shares rather than sell them. Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings is also considering selling some of its shares in Ant Group.
Ant Group’s Alipay is the primary payment method on Alibaba’s popular e-commerce platforms, Taobao and Tmall, servicing over a billion users.