Alibaba Announces Withdrawal of Cainiao IPO Application

Alibaba Announces Withdrawal of Cainiao IPO Application
Photo: Shutterstock 27.03.2024 242

Alibaba to buy Cainiao stake for up to $3.75 billion as it drops IPO plan.

Alibaba Group said on Tuesday it was offering to buy the 36% of Cainiao it does not already own for up to $3.75 billion, abandoning plans for an initial public offering (IPO) of the logistics business in Hong Kong. In the Chinese e-commerce giant's latest reversal of its restructuring plan, Alibaba, which holds a stake of around 64% in Cainiao, said it was offering to acquire the remaining stock.

Alibaba Group Chairman Joe Tsai said that regulatory issues played no part in the decision to pull Cainiao's IPO. Tsai said in a recent earnings call all Alibaba's planned IPOs, including Cainiao's, "were subject to market conditions".

"The overall environment for doing capital market transactions in order to unlock value for shareholders is just not there in this part of the world. It doesn't make sense for us to grind into these capital market deals," 

he said on Tuesday's call with analysts.

The Hong Kong IPO market saw a slowdown in activity in 2023, with 73 company listings raising HK$46.3 billion ($5.92 billion), down 56% from 2022. The company had faced a mismatch in valuation expectations with potential investors, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Alibaba has had a tumultuous year since announcing the biggest shake-up in its 25-year history by splitting into six units. It has installed a new CEO, announced and then abandoned listing its Cloud division and refocused on its core businesses.

Those core businesses - e-commerce and cloud - are now led by new Group CEO Eddie Wu. Although Alibaba's domestic e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao are still China's largest, they have lost market share in recent years to competitors including PDD Holdings'

Pinduoduo.

"We want to win in e-commerce by regaining market share and driving growth," 

Tsai said, further integration with Cainiao is central to that strategy, he added.

Cainiao first filed the IPO paperwork to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in September. Tuesday marked the last day of a six month window before which it was required to update its listing status. No timeline had ever been publicly disclosed.

Cainiao, one of the world's largest logistics and IT platforms, was founded in 2013 and is part of Alibaba Group, a recognized leader in e-commerce. The company serves more than 90% of AliExpress shipments in the world, and is also engaged in the development of automation of logistics solutions, supply chain management systems, building domestic and international logistics chains, and developing artificial intelligence in the field of unmanned deliveries.

Source: Reuters

digital markets  China 

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