HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to raise at least $5 billion through the sale of a U.S. dollar-denominated bond this month, four people with knowledge of the matter said, amid regulatory scrutiny of co-founder Jack Ma’s empire.
The fundraising will be a test of investor sentiment towards Alibaba, coming months after an October speech from billionaire Ma about regulation stifling innovation that led to the halting of affiliate Ant Group’s $37 billion stock market listing.
Ma’s absence from public view in the intervening time has fuelled social media speculation over his whereabouts.
The bond sale plan, including timeline, is not finalised and is subject to change, the people said, all of whom declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Alibaba declined to comment.
Since Ma’s speech, Chinese regulators have begun an antitrust probe into Alibaba and ordered fintech Ant to change its lending and other consumer finance businesses, including the creation of a holding company to meet capital requirements.
Alibaba’s international bond offering, if finalised, would be the group’s third, Refinitiv data showed. It sold an $8 billion U.S. dollar bond in 2014, and a $7 billion tranche in 2017, the data showed.
The terms of the offering were not immediately known. Two of the people said marketing documents were likely to be available as soon as next week, and that the tenure of the bond is likely to be 10 years.
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee, Julie Zhu and Kane Wu; Additional reporting by Scott Murdoch and Anshuman Daga; Editing by Christopher Cushing)