Business Essentials for Professionals


Amid Regulatory Scrutiny, China’s Alibaba Plans $5 Billion Bond Sale: Reuters

Amid Regulatory Scrutiny, China’s Alibaba Plans $5 Billion Bond Sale: Reuters
Even as the Chinese regulators are conducting investigations into its business practices, plans of raising at least $5 billion through the sale of a U.S. dollar-denominated bond this month ha been made by China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, according to a report by the news agency Reuters quoting information from four people with knowledge of the matter.
Proceeds from the sale could reach $8 billion which is likely to be used for general corporate expenditure by the e-commerce leader co-founded by Jack Ma but that amount is dependent on investor response to the sale, said the Reuters report quoting information from one of the sources.
According to experts and analysts, this fundraising round will be a test for Alibaba with respect to investor sentiment towards the company. Back in October of last year, the billionaire Ma delivered a speech which was very critical of the Chinese regulators as he accused the authorities of stifling innovation. It is rightly presumed by experts and analysts that the October speech by Ma was responsible for the halting of the $37 billion stock market listing of Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Group.
In recent days, there has been speculation about the whereabouts of Ma in the media as well as on social media because of his prolonged absence from public view in the intervening time since that October speech.
There were news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week about Ma not being seen in public since his speech in October in which he was critical of the Chinese financial regulators.
Soon after the halting of the record-setting initial public offering of the Ant Group, Chinese regulators had summoned Ma and two Ant Group executives and they were interviewed, according to a statement from the China Securities Regulatory Commission inh November last year,
But within the past day or two, CNBC reported that Ma was not missing but was simply “laying low”. According to CNBC’s David Faber, Ma was not missing and added: “what I can tell you is that he’s very likely in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is headquartered, and is being less-visible, purposefully...but that doesn’t mean that he’s missing.”
Faber also claimed that Ma “hasn't been captured, he hasn't been taken and there's no expectation that the government is going to move on him in some way.”
Faber attributed the information on Ma’s whereabouts to a source close to the Chinese entrepreneur.
There was much intensified speculation about the whereabouts of the Chinese tycoon after he did not appear as a judge in the final episode of his own show, Africa's Business Heroes, which is a television show to find out promising entrepreneurs.
In recent weeks, there has been intense scrutiny of Ma's Ant Group and Alibaba by the Chinese financial regulators. 
According to Wednesday’s Reuters report, Alibaba has not yet finalised the details of the bond sale plan, including timeline and could be changed.
There was no comment from Alibaba on the issue.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc