Sun, Aug 16, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Soros Funds sells off majority of its shares in Alibaba

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

US billionaire George Soros’ fund has sold most of its stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), according to regulatory filings on Friday.

In its quarterly statement to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Soros Funds Management LLC said that as of June 30, it had sold all but nearly 60,000 Alibaba shares, valued at US$4.88 million. At the end of March, the fund still had 4.4 million shares valued at nearly US$370 million.

Similarly, the Tiger Global Management LLC investment fund reduced its stake in the Chinese group from 6.7 million shares at the end of March to just 93,494 shares three months later, filings show.

Alibaba reached historic highs in November last year, two months after its initial public offering on Wall Street, but it has since lost 37 percent of its value. The group’s latest quarterly results, published this week, showed a more pronounced slowdown than expected in sales growth, disappointing Wall Street.

The two largest shareholders of Alibaba are still Japan’s Softbank Corp — with 31.75 percent at the end of last year — and Yahoo Inc with 15.27 percent.

As China’s stock market took a free fall this summer, some big money managers looked to sell shares of two of the largest Chinese tech companies listed in the US — Alibaba and Baidu Inc (百度) — during the second quarter.

The shares of both Alibaba and Baidu are down sharply since the beginning of the second quarter. The two companies were once the darlings of a group of hedge funds known as the “tiger cubs,” hedge fund managers seeded by the billionaire investor Julian Robertson, which include Coatue Management LLC, founded by Philippe Laffont, and Tiger Global Management, founded by the investor Chase Coleman.

Coatue sold 2.2 million shares in Baidu, China’s biggest Internet search company — roughly 74 percent of its stake — in the quarter that ended June 30, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Other so-called tiger cubs sold some of their shares in Baidu and Alibaba as well, including Viking Global Investors LP. The hedge fund, led by O. Andreas Halvorsen, who once worked for Robertson, sold 1.1 million Baidu shares and also 902,981 Alibaba shares.

Additional reporting by NY Times News Service

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