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Alibaba Pumps Up Shares with Buyback as Stock Plunges

Ding Yi / Dec 28, 2020 02:30 PM / Business & Tech

E-commerce giant Alibaba on Sunday said it will nearly double its existing share repurchase program to $10 billion from a previous $6 billion, seeking to support its shares that have lost nearly a third of their value from a peak this year amid growing government scrutiny of its monopolistic practices.

Last week, the Chinese government announced it had launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba’s alleged practice of forcing merchants to sign exclusivity agreements designed to prevent them from partnering with its rivals. That was part of a broader recent government drive to combat monopolistic behavior by industry leaders.

Following the government announcement Alibaba’s shares fell 13% last Thursday in New York.

News of the investigation came two months after the Shanghai Stock Exchange halted the blockbuster IPO of Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech affiliate, saying it had not met requirements for listing. Ant Group’s proposed offering had been set to potentially become the biggest stock debut in history.

Ant Group, which operates China’s ubiquitous Alipay mobile payment service, is also a target of China’s financial regulators, which on Saturday ordered the company to return to its original role as a payment services provider and overhaul its lending, insurance and wealth management services.

In response, Ant Group said Sunday that it will establish a rectification working group and completely implement the regulatory requirements raised during the Saturday meeting. The firm also said it will make a timetable for the rectification as soon as possible.

Alibaba’s stock is down roughly 30% from its 2020 peak, battered by the government investigation and allegations of monopolistic practices. The plunge has wiped out nearly $200 billion in market value.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Update: China Urges Ant Group to Get Back to Basics With Payments

 


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