Alibaba Said to Consider Loan Without General Syndication

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is considering completing a $3 billion loan without marketing it to other lenders in general syndication, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company may close the loan just among senior-level banks after receiving strong initial interest in the deal, the person said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

A bank meeting to discuss the facility with those interested in joining in so-called senior syndication was attended by some 96 people, the person said. Alibaba invited about 18 banks to join in the senior phase earlier this month, offering to pay a blended all-in rate of 525 basis points to 600 basis points over the London interbank offered rate. Nearly all of the banks invited attended, the person said.

The loan is being underwritten and arranged by Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Credit Suisse Group AG, DBS Bank Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc and Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd.

Alibaba Group, run by billionaire Jack Ma, offered HK$13.50 ($1.74) a share for the 27 percent it doesn’t already own in, according to a Feb. 21 regulatory filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Ma is seeking to buy out minority shareholders four years after a $1.7 billion initial public offering as the unit warned of slowing earnings growth tied to a change in strategy.

John Spelich, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at Alibaba, wasn’t immediately available to comment on the syndication strategy when contacted on his mobile telephone today.

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