Alibaba's top investor Softbank is offloading almost $8 billion worth of shares in the Chinese tech titan. Graham Mackay reports on why this is happening at an inopportune time for Jack Ma and his company.
Alibaba's number one shareholder is cashing out big time. Japanese telecom giant Softbank announcing plans to sell around 8 billion dollars worth of shares in the Chinese dotcom giant... The first time it's ever sold Alibaba stock since it first invested in the company 16 years ago. Softbank says it's just looking to free up funds... As for Alibaba, Reuters John Ruwitch says this comes at an unfortunate time. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS SHANGHAI CORRESPONDENT, JOHN RUWITCH, SAYING: "Softbank's been an investor in Alibaba since 2000, that was one year after Alibaba was founded in Jack Ma's living room. So it says it's sticking by Alibaba, but the timing of this sale of shares is inopportune for Alibaba. it comes less than a week after the company announced that it was under investigation by the US securities and exchange commission for accounting issues. Alibaba's also been in the headlines recently because of a dispute - of a row - with the international anti-counterfeit coalition. Alibaba joined this group in April and there was basically a mutiny among member of this group who were unhappy about Alibaba becoming a member. And so Alibaba was subsequently kicked out". Adding to the inconvenient timing - reports that Yahoo is also looking to sell it's 15 percent stake in Alibaba. Alibaba's stock dipped following the news, but analysts tell Reuters that investors shouldn't be hitting the panic button. It may be a massive number, but 8 billion dollars is only about 4 percent of Softbank's stake in Alibaba, and it'll still own more than a quarter of the company. Softbank's CEO will remain a director at Alibaba, and Ali boss Jack Ma will keep his seat on the softbank board.