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Alibaba goes private

Alibaba.com, the e-commerce company based in China, has been finally approved to go private.

Alibaba said a sufficient majority of the independent shareholders of Alibaba.com – about 95 per cent – approved its proposal to delist. 

The privatisation, which was sanctioned this month by Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, allows Alibaba.com to become a private wholly-owned subsidiary of Alibaba Group and to delist its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

“We consider the terms of the privatisation proposal to be fair and reasonable,” said Somerley, an independent financial advisor.

A major factor which drove Alibaba Group’s decision to privatise its publicly traded subsidiary, which is engaged in the B2B marketplace business, was to provide minority shareholders with an opportunity to realise their investment in Alibaba.com at a significant premium over the current market price, while Alibaba.com implements a shift in its business strategy.

Alibaba.com shifted its focus in early 2011 from aggressive growth in paying members to increasing the number and activity of buyers, who are essential to the success of the e-commerce platforms but do not pay any fees for the use of the platforms. This contributed towards Alibaba.com experiencing negative growth in its paying members and a decrease in revenue growth in 2011.

Alibaba Group chairman and CEO Jack Ma Yun commented: “Just as the IPO was a starting point for Alibaba.com and not the finish line, privatisation is not the end but rather a new beginning.

“This business upgrade will involve broad, complex and large-scale mechanisms, and will undoubtedly have a significant impact on Alibaba.com’s profitability over the next few years.”

Alibaba.com, an e-commerce platform for small businesses and the flagship company of Alibaba Group, now operates in more than 240 markets and has 79.7 million registered users.

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