China’s Alibaba says it will not join Ant Group share buyback

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office building in Beijing, China

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Alibaba Group said on Sunday it had decided not to participate in affiliate Ant Group’s proposed repurchase of shares, but would maintain its shareholding in the company.

Ant Group announced a surprise share buyback of up to 7.6% of its equity interest earlier this month, a day after it was fined $984 million by Beijing for violating laws and regulations.

Online retail giant Alibaba, which spun off Ant 12 years ago retains a 33% stake.

The fine has fuelled hopes that a years-long regulatory crackdown on the company has ended, which could allow it to secure a financial holding company licence, focus on growth, and eventually, revive its plans for a stock market listing.

(Reporting by Amy Lv and Dominique Patton; Editing by Jan Harvey and Barbara Lewis)