Alibaba Group Said to Plan Privatizing Close to IPO Price

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (ALIBABZ) plans to take private its Ltd. (1688) unit in a deal that may value the Hong Kong-listed company at as much as $8.7 billion, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

China’s biggest e-commerce company, which owns more than 72 percent of, may offer a price close to the HK$13.50 a share at which the stock was sold in a 2007 initial public offering, one person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. That’s 55 percent above’ 20-day moving average through Feb. 8, after which its shares were suspended.

At the IPO price, buying the 28 percent it doesn’t already own will cost Alibaba Group about $2.4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. John Spelich, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Alibaba Group, declined to comment.

Hong Kong Economic Times reported yesterday that Alibaba Group may offer HK$13.50 a share, citing people it didn’t identify.

The privatization is being planned with’s shares down 44 percent in the 12 months before trading was halted. The IPO was priced a day before the Hang Seng Index climbed to a record on Oct. 30, 2007. Since then, the index has dropped 32 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Alibaba Group’s talks to buy back a stake in itself that is currently held by Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) have reached an impasse, a person familiar with the matter said this week. Yahoo is the biggest shareholder in closely held Alibaba Group with a stake of about 40 percent.

Alibaba Group plans to sign loan documents for a $3 billion facility with six banks as early as next week, a person familiar with the matter said today. The funds are being borrowed for a potential deal involving Yahoo, which could also include buying back, the person said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Cathy Chan in Hong Kong at; Katrina Nicholas in Singapore at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mohammed Hadi at

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