Signage for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. covers the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange November 11, 2015. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s total value of goods transacted during its Singles’ Day shopping festival was 91.2 billion yuan ($14.32 billion), the Chinese e-commerce giant said in Beijing on Thursday. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid – RTS6JF3 Photo Credit: Reuters

Alibaba leads $2.55 bn bid for Chinese retailer Intime

10 January, 2017

E-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and the founder of Intime Retail Group Co Ltd have jointly bid to take the Chinese department store operator private for HK$19.79 billion ($2.55 billion), the partners said on Tuesday.

Alibaba Investment Ltd and Shen Guo Jun have offered HK$10 per Intime share. That would represent 42.25% more than the stock’s last price of HK$7.03 on December 28 when trading was suspended pending an announcement. The stock price surged 35% when trading resumed on Tuesday.

The Alibaba group currently holds 27.82% of Intime while Shen owns 9.17%. The pair plan to finance the purchase through internal cash resources and external debt financing.

Intime said in a statement to Hong Kong’s stock exchange that Alibaba and Shen planned to explore development opportunities and implement a series of long-term growth strategies, which could affect its short-term growth.

“We don’t divide the world into real or virtual economies, only the old and the new,” said Alibaba Group Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang in a separate statement. “Those who cling on to the old ways of retailing will be disrupted.”

“Our combination with Intime will enable us to tap into the long-term growth potential of a new form of retail in China powered by Internet technology and data,” Zhang said.

China’s retail sector is worth $4.5 trillion and is growing at 10.7% a year, Alibaba said. The e-commerce firm also said it was working with offline retailers to create a new shopping experience.

Alibaba initially took a stake in Intime in 2014 with an investment of $692.25 million.

Intime operates 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls in China, mainly in so-called first- and second-tier cities. In August, it posted a 21.3% fall in first-half profit amid declining sales, saying e-commerce had transformed the competitive landscape.

Its shares fell 8% in 2016, compared with a 0.4% rise in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Separately, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma met US President-elect Donald Trump on Monday and laid out his firm’s plan to bring a million small US businesses onto its e-commerce platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.

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Alibaba leads $2.55 bn bid for Chinese retailer Intime

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