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SoftBank May Sell Alibaba Stock to Fund Buyback, Jefferies Says

  • The stock is up 18% this year, while Alibaba has surged 45%
  • SoftBank’s stake in Alibaba is worth over $120 billion
SoftBank's Blockbuster IPO Said to Hit Retail Sales Target
Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

The slump in SoftBank Group Corp.’s shares could prompt Masayoshi Son to play an ace card -- cashing in part of his stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Son is likely to sell Alibaba stock to help pay for another buyback in an attempt to bolster SoftBank shares, according to Jefferies Group analyst Atul Goyal. It’s a surprise the Japanese technology giant’s shares are “languishing” despite its large stake in Alibaba, Goyal wrote in a note. The shares have become “decoupled,” and SoftBank is seeing little upside from its holding, he said. SoftBank’s stock is up 16% this year, while Alibaba’s has surged 45%. SoftBank’s market cap is about $82 billion, though its Alibaba shares alone are worth about $128 billion.