BEIJING / Bloomberg
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma and Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai will bolster the company’s share buyback as they agreed to spend $500 million of their own money purchasing stock in a vote of confidence for the e-commerce operator.
The billionaire co-founder and his lieutenant will bankroll the purchase of shares currently trading at $66.91, Alibaba said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The company announced in August Ma’s and Tsai’s intention to contribute to a $4 billion buyback without specifying how much they would spend.
Alibaba is trading below its initial public offering price of $68 after plunging 20 percent in the past year as it grapples with slowing growth, the result of its reliance on a decelerating Chinese economy. It’s getting squeezed by price cuts and competition in bigger cities, while facing lawsuits amid challenges in dealing with counterfeits.
As China’s largest online emporium, Alibaba is the standard-bearer for an economy that’s navigating a bumpy transition from a high-speed export economy to one anchored by consumer spending.