Alibaba Increases Share Repurchase To $25 Billion

A man walks past the Alibaba Group logo at its office building in Beijing, China, August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

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(Reuters) – Alibaba raised its share buyback program to $25 billion on Tuesday, in the largest-ever buyback plan by the e-commerce giant, to prop up its troubled shares as it battles regulatory oversight and concerns about slowing growth.

The plan comes amid a rally in tech stocks in the past few days after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said Beijing will roll out more measures to boost the economy as well as favorable policy steps for capital markets. Read more

This is the second time that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has expanded its buy-back program in a year. And it raised the program from 10 to 15 billion dollars last August.

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company shares (9988.HK) Dig over 50% in the last year.

“The amplified stock buyback underscores our confidence in Alibaba’s long-term sustainable growth potential and value creation,” said Toby Xu, deputy chief financial officer.

“Alibaba’s share price does not fairly reflect the value of the company in light of our aggressive financial and expansion plans.”

Alibaba shares rose 4.5 percent in Hong Kong after the news. In the US, its shares closed down 4.3% on Monday.

Alibaba has been under pressure since late 2020 when Ma publicly criticized China’s regulatory system.

Authorities then halted a planned initial public offering of its financial arm Ant Group and imposed a record fine of $2.8 billion on Alibaba for its anti-competitive behavior, which led to a prolonged decline in its shares.

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Increasing competition from competitors, slowing consumption, and the maturation of the e-commerce market have also affected its performance.

In its latest earnings release, Alibaba posted revenue growth of 10% year-on-year, the slowest quarter since it went public in 2014, growth for the first time fell below 20%. Read more

Reuters reported in March that the company was currently preparing to lay off tens of thousands of employees. Read more

Alibaba said it had already repurchased about $9.2 billion of its US-listed shares as of March 18 under its program, which was initially scheduled to run through the end of this year.

The current $25 billion program will be in effect for two years, through March 2024.

Alibaba has also appointed Weijian Shan, CEO of PAG Investment Group, as an independent director of its board of directors, said Borg Ekholm, CEO of Ericsson. (ERICb.ST)He will retire from Alibaba’s board of directors on March 31.

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Additional reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Josh Horowitz in Shanghai; Editing by Sherry Jacob Phillips and Himani Sarkar

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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