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Alibaba backer SoftBank to cut its stake

Kimberly Chin
Apr 13, 2023
Illustration of a dollar sign with strings attached to it possibly about to get cut by a hand with scissors.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

SoftBank plans to sell almost all of its remaining shares in Alibaba, bringing its stake to about 3.8%, the Financial Times reports.

Why it matters: The retreat of one of the Chinese group’s longtime backers comes as the company seeks to restructure itself by splitting into six businesses.

What’s happening: The Japanese group has sold about $7.2 billion worth of the company’s shares this year via prepaid forward contracts. It sold $29 billion last year.

  • SoftBank has the option to buy back the shares through these contracts.
  • The Japanese company once owned 34% of Alibaba.

Catch up fast: As Axios reported, a big benefit of Alibaba's reorganization is that each division is now freed to focus on its own growth strategy.

  • A split-up or spinoff of its units makes it easier for the company if it were to face further regulatory scrutiny.

SoftBank and Alibaba declined to comment.

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