Alibaba Group is said to be planning to buy at least a 10 per cent stake in Yunda Holding Co Ltd, making it the e-commerce giant’s fifth investment in a large courier.
Alibaba is looking to buy the stake from Yunda’s controlling shareholders, founding couple Nie Tengyun and Chen Liying, who own 52.19 per cent of Yunda through their wholly owned firm Shanghai LuoJieSi Investment Management, said a person close to the matter.
At the current market price, the stake would be worth at least $790m. Yunda has a market capitalisation of about $8.78bn.
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Another person close to the matter said Alibaba could go beyond 10 per cent and buy up to 15 per cent of Shenzhen-listed Yunda.
Under Chinese regulations, a stake of more than 5 per cent in a domestically listed company can be sold at a discount of as much as 10 per cent of the firm’s share price on the last trading day prior to a deal.
Alibaba has reportedly already bought a small stake in Yunda which is below threshold for disclosure.
Alibaba’s move comes one year after it took a 14.65 per cent stake in another large express delivery firm, STO Express Co Ltd, through a 4.66bn yuan deal.
STO’s controlling shareholder then gave Alibaba an option to purchase another 31.25 per cent stake in three years.
Prior to STO, Alibaba acquired minority stakes in three other large Chinese couriers - YTO Express Group Co Ltd, Best Inc and ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc.
Alibaba and Yunda have not provided any comments.