Alibaba's Jack Ma sells shares worth $9.6bn

Alibaba's share price has risen around 40 per cent since Ma reported his 6.4 per cent holding in the company a year ago

Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba Group, has cut his stake in the company over the past year, to 4.8 per cent from 6.4 per cent, cashing out around $9.6bn (€8.4bn, £7.5bn) at its current share price, the firm’s annual filing showed. 

Ma retired as the Chinese e-commerce company’s executive chairman in September 2019 and pulled back from formal business roles to focus on philanthropy.

Alibaba did not disclose the average selling price of his divestment. Its share price has risen around 40 per cent since Ma reported his 6.4 per cent holding in the company a year ago.

The stock’s good performance has been helped by forecast-beating earnings growth, even as China’s economy sharply slows, as more people shop online for essentials due to the global pandemic.

Alibaba executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai also reduced his stake in the company over the same period, from 2.3 per cent to 1.6 per cent. The offloaded shares were worth $4.1bn as of Friday.

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Both Ma and Tsai have been steadily less involved in Alibaba’s regular operations since Daniel Zhang was announced as Ma’s successor as company chairman. He started that role in September 2019.

An April 2019 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission said that Ma would plan to sell up to 21 million shares within one year to support his philanthropic efforts.

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