Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Temasek cuts Alibaba stake, adds Gilead Sciences


Temasek Holdings Pte sold shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) in the fourth quarter, as the biggest Chinese e-commerce company’s shares rallied following its initial public offering (IPO), and put more money into pharmaceuticals maker Gilead Sciences Inc.

Singapore’s state-owned investment firm sold 7.3 million American depositary receipts (ADR) in Alibaba, leaving it with 10.7 million shares, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

The value of the holding declined by US$487.5 million, the biggest decrease among the firm’s US-listed stakes.

“They must have made about US$300 million through that sale,” said Enrico Soddu, an analyst at Institutional Investor’s Sovereign Wealth Center in London. “When everyone was buying, they were selling.”

Alibaba shares have been declining after reaching a record US$120 in November, paring their post-IPO return to 31 percent.

The company, founded by billionaire Jack Ma (馬雲), raised US$25 billion in the largest IPO in history on Sept. 18, selling shares for US$68 each.

Ma has a US$35.1 billion fortune as of Friday after adding US$6.7 billion this year, the most among the world’s richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The increase made him Asia’s wealthiest person and put him ahead of Amazon.com Incs Jeff Bezos and Facebook Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg.

For Temasek, the sale is not a vote against Alibaba as it still owns a sizable stake, Soddu said.

Temasek also holds Alibaba shares through a unit called Seatown Holdings Pte, which reported owning 7.45 million ADRs at the end of the fourth quarter. That stake was unchanged from the previous quarter.

Temasek had invested S$50 million (US$37 million) in Alibaba in its fiscal year ended March 2011, it said in that year’s annual report. It was one of the investors that agreed to buy as much as US$1.6 billion stock from Alibaba employees, people familiar with the matter said in September 2011.

Singapore’s investment firm was also among buyers when Alibaba repurchased shares from Yahoo Inc in 2012 through transactions valued at US$7.6 billion and sold them partly to existing shareholders.

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