Alibaba reported plans $5b dollar bond sale amid regulatory toughening
Published: Feb 03, 2021 09:21 PM

A staff of Shijiazhuang distribution center of Cainiao Network, the logistics platform of e-commerce giant Alibaba, disinfects packages in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province, Jan. 23, 2021. Logistics companies in Shijiazhuang have strengthened disinfection measures as the COVID-19 prevention and control efforts to make sure the safety of their employees and customers. (Xinhua/Mu Yu)

Alibaba has plans to raise as much as $5 billion through a US dollar-denominated bond sale, according to media reports on Wednesday, a touchstone for the e-commerce giant's appeal for investors amid an anti-monopoly regulatory blitz.

The book for the bond sale will open on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing a marketing term sheet.

The planned notes with various maturities up to 40 years will be Alibaba's third international bond offering, following an $8 billion bond offering in 2014 and a $7 billion tranche in 2017, the report said. 

Alibaba didn't respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Its shares in the Hong Kong market reversed course suddenly near the end of trading on Wednesday to close up 0.38 percent. Its shares also rose in US premarket trading on Wednesday, implying a higher opening.

Such gains stand in contrast with its underperformance on Tuesday. 

The e-commerce behemoth posted $33.88 billion in revenues in the quarter ended December 31, 2020, beating market estimates, as retail gains steam and its cloud computing businesses moves to profit. 

The strong fiscal readings failed to excite investors, with Alibaba's US shares ending Tuesday with a 3.85-percent fall even as the US market booked gains across the board.

Uncertainties hanging over its fintech offshoot Ant Group, as revealed by its financial disclosure, could have unnerved investors. 

"Ant Group is in the process of developing its rectification plan, which will need to go through the relevant regulatory procedures," read a company statement announcing the quarterly financial results.

The fintech giant's business prospects and IPO plans are consequently subject to substantial uncertainties, according to Alibaba.

Ant Group's actual controller Jack Ma Yun and its management were summoned for a regulatory interview on November 2, 2020, one day ahead of announcements to halt the Alipay operator's blockbuster deal listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Alibaba also updated the markets on an anti-monopoly probe launched by China's market watchdog in late December. The probe is ongoing, according to the company, and a special taskforce has been created to conduct internal reviews.

Global Times