SoftBank plans to sell $7.9b of Alibaba

The announcement caught stock analysts by surprise but is likely to help the Japanese firm reduce leverage.

Japan’s SoftBank said on Wednesday it would sell at least $7.9 billion worth of its shares in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to reduce its leverage.

SoftBank’s chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, will remain a board director of Alibaba, and Alibaba’s executive chairman, Jack Ma, will remain a director of the Japanese firm.

The partial sale of its 32.2% stake would be the first time Alibaba’s biggest shareholder has sold stock since it first invested in 2000.

“This investment has been phenomenally successful and, over the past 16 years, we have built a close relationship, working together on many exciting...

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